Gov. Gavin Newsom Suspends Death Penalty In California

California Gov. Gavin Newsom

"Governor Newsom, who supported the failed initiative to end the death penalty in 2006, is usurping the express will of California voters and substituting his personal preferences via this hasty and ill-considered moratorium on the death penalty", Hanisee said in a statement. "In short, the death penalty is inconsistent with our bedrock values and strikes at the very heart of what it means to be a Californian".

The president of the United States and the governor of California engaged in a game of "he said, he said" recently over whether Gavin Newsom's praise of Donald Trump included privately calling him "one of the smartest people I've ever met".

Newsom will sign an executive order on Wednesday granting a reprieve to the state's 737 death-row inmates and shutting down the execution chamber at the San Quentin State Prison. Federal courts ordered a halt to executions until the California department of corrections and rehabilitation (CDCR) could ensure its lethal injection protocol was administered without risk of exposing inmates to excessive pain.

California's governor is set to issue a moratorium on capital punishment in the US's most populous state, providing a reprieve for hundreds of inmates sentenced to death.

In his speech on Wednesday, the governor will highlight the racial disparities in sentencing - noting that 6 in 10 prisoners on California's death row are people of color - the cost of enforcing the death penalty and the number of innocent people who have been sentenced to death.

Mike Semanchik, managing attorney for the California Innocence Project - which works to exonerate inmates on death row - cheered the move.

"The voters of the State of California support the death penalty".

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Newsom's reason for the executive order? It will not affect inmates' convictions or their imprisonment, other than eliminating their death sentences, the source said.

But Newsom's order will go against the wishes of California voters, who in 2016 backed a measure to speed up executions. "I am proud of our new Governor for taking this bold step".

Newsom's planned order drew criticism from some law enforcement groups, including the Association of Deputy District Attorneys, a prosecutors' association.

In 1990, Dianne Feinstein ran for governor as a pro-death penalty Democrat, views that were booed at the state Democratic Convention that year. Republican Illinois Gov. George Ryan was the first to do so in 2000, though Illinois has since abolished the death penalty.

At that time, Newsom said he understood that the issue "raises deeply felt passions on all sides" but he believed that Americans ultimately would look back on the death penalty "as an archaic mistake".

Seventy-nine condemned California inmates have died of natural causes since the state reinstated capital punishment in 1978.

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