California Gov. Gavin Newsom joins 18 states in outlawing death penalty

California Gov. Gavin Newsom joins 18 states in outlawing death penalty

California Gov. Gavin Newsom will sign a sweeping order on Wednesday putting an executive moratorium on California's troubled death penalty, thus ordering a reprieve for the 737 people on death row.

Claire Finkelstein from the University of Pennsylvania told Al Jazeera that the California governor acted on the basis of two concerns: racial disparity in the administration of the death penalty, and innocence.

Ultimately, Newsom decided the moratorium was in the best interest of the state, because he believes the death penalty "is inconsistent with our bedrock values and strikes at the very heart of what it means to be a Californian".

Trump says "Friends and families of the always forgotten VICTIMS are not thrilled, and neither am I!"

Stanislaus County District Attorney Birgit Fladager, president of the California District Attorneys Association, also criticized Newsom for circumventing the will of a majority of voters. "It discriminates based on the colour of your skin or how much money you make", he told a news conference on Wednesday.

The governor is expected to outline the long history of discrimination within the criminal justice system, making mentally ill, black, brown, and poor convicts more likely to face the death penalty.

The Golden State has the largest death row in the United States, with some 737 inmates now residing there.

"I believe that the death penalty is wrong and I'm exercising my right pursuant to the will of voters and the constitution", he said. In that same election, state voters narrowly approved a measure to speed up death row inmates' executions by limiting their time for appeals to five years.

Newsom, whose state government is clashing with Trump over environmental regulations, Trump's promised border wall and plans for a bullet train, added he was still committed to working with the Trump White House on disaster preparedness.

According to the state's Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation death row list (pdf), 737 inmates were slated to be executed prior to the executive order.

Newsom noted that the death penalty hasn't made the state any safer and has become a burden on California taxpayers.

California has not put an inmate to death since 2006, amid legal challenges to its execution protocols and discomfort among political leaders.

His move will also withdraw California's lethal injection protocol and close down the state's execution chamber at San Quentin prison. "The death penalty will end in the United States". That's more than four times the amount of the second-deadliest state, Virginia, where there were 113 executions, or the third-deadliest, which is Oklahoma with 112 executions.

"A 2,000-mile wall is a monument to stupidity, not just vanity, to stupidity", Newsom said.

About a quarter of America's death-row prisoners are in California, the country's most populous state.

"That is powerfully demonstrated by their approval of Proposition 66 in 2016 to ensure the death penalty is implemented, and their rejection of measures to end the death penalty in 2016 and 2006".

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