California Governor Newsom Signs Executive Moratorium

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Since the death penalty was reinstated by the Supreme Court in 1976, the state has executed 13 people. "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".

Trump's referral to defying voters was about two different attempts in the past six years to repeal the death penalty in California at the ballot box, both of which failed.

In a tweet, President Donald Trump denounced the decision as a slap in the face for victims and their families.

"We commend California Governor Gavin Newsom on this common-sense step. It discriminates based on the colour of your skin or how much money you make", he told a news conference on Wednesday.

An armed California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation officer is seen reflected in the window of a cell at San Quentin State Prison's death row adjustment center
Gov. Gavin Newsom Suspends Death Penalty In California

Trump is more likely signaling his defense of the death penalty to the country broadly than trying specifically to undercut Newsom. That said, California now joins three other states - Oregon, Colorado and Pennsylvania - where governors have issued moratoriums on executions.

The state now houses around a quarter of the total of condemned inmates in the USA. Capital punishment is considered a legal penalty in the State of California.

"The intentional killing of another person is wrong", he said, "and as governor, I will not oversee the execution of any individual". It will also contribute to a broader effort by death penalty abolitionists to oppose capital punishment through the legislative, judicial, and executive branches.

Since 1973, five inmates in California have been executed before being exonerated of their crimes later on.

Scheidegger also said California law requires prison officials to maintain the ability to carry out executions.

"As conservatives, we applaud Governor Newsom's decision because the death penalty violates our beliefs in limited government, fiscal responsibility, and the value of life".

The governor's office said Newsom's order will also immediately close the state's execution chamber at San Quentin Prison, but does not otherwise change any existing convictions or sentences - and will not lead to any death row inmates being released.

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

Breathtaking news. "Gov. Gavin Newsom is suspending the death penalty in California, calling it discriminatory and immoral and granting reprieves to the 737 condemned inmates on the nation's largest Death Row".

Since then, the death row population has grown to house one of every four condemned inmates in the United States.

"So what everyone needs to realize is that the death penalty is still the law in California", said Santa Clara University professor of law Ellen Kreitzberg.

The order calls for the immediate closure of the execution chamber at San Quentin Prison. More than three-quarters of Republicans support executions while only about a third of Democrats agree.

"I do want to work with him on emergency preparedness and emergency planning", Newsom said.