A Government of Newsom, by Newsom

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a news conference at which he announced a moratorium on California's death penalty

Since California's last execution, its death row population has grown to house one of every four condemned inmates in the US. "It has discriminated against defendants who are mentally ill, black and brown, or can't afford expensive legal representation".

While Newsom and many advocates favor ending the death penalty, the California people voted in 2016 to keep it for those convicted for first-degree murder.

The move has been...

State Senator Scott Wiener, a Democrat, also expressed support for ending capital punishment in California. How do we do this right?

Newsom has the constitutional power to unilaterally grant reprieves, as he did Wednesday, said Kent Scheidegger, legal director of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, which has been fighting in court to force the state to resume executions. California hasn't executed anyone since 2006.

Governor Gavin Newsom announced the plan to halt use of the death penalty by saying: "The intentional killing of another person is wrong and as governor, I will not oversee the execution of any individual".

Human Rights Watch said that, with the governor's decision, California continues a trend in the USA of moving away from putting people to death.

He said he's considering commuting death sentences as "a next step" once state Supreme Court justices explain why they blocked several non-death commutations sought by former Gov. "My ultimate goal is to end the death penalty in California".

San Quentin State Prison in California

President Donald Trump is speaking out against Governor Gavin Newsom's planned Executive Order to halt the state's death penalty executions.

He said he had anticipated that within a month he would have been asked to sign off on a new protocol for administering lethal injections to death row inmates, clearing the way for executions to begin again. But, the outlet reported, the order "does not allow for the release of any inmates or change their sentences". Voters also narrowly approved a ballot measure that requires fast-tracking the appeals process in capital punishment cases. At least 18 of the 25 people who were executed a year ago had significant evidence of mental illness, intellectually damaging brain injuries or chronic childhood trauma or abuse, according to a Death Penalty Information Center report released in December.

A copy of the executive order signed today can be found here.

Patrick Croy spent seven years on death row until he was acquitted in 1990 for the murder of a Yreka police officer in 1978.

U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, applauded Newsom's decision.

Under the governor's reprieve, all 737 people on death row will remain in prison and, on paper, sentenced to death. Of 600 adults surveyed, 60 percent said they strongly support the death penalty, and 26 percent were opposed.

"It's my hope that the Governor reconsiders his decision and reflects on the will of the people of California to impose this sentence on those rare cases where the terrible atrocities committed demand a higher level of justice". "We need to put an end to capital punishment in California".

Since 1973, a total of 164 prisoners nationally - including five from California - have been freed after they were wrongfully convicted, according to "The Innocence List" maintained by The Death Penalty Information Center.

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