Gov. Gavin Newsom to stop the death penalty in California

After all, he has become one of the leading voices of opposing President Donald Trump's immigration policies, an outspoken supporter of gun control measures and a fearless advocate for making climate change a policy priority.

ASSOCIATED PRESS Gov. Gavin Newsom signs the executive order placing a moratorium on the death penalty at his Capitol office Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in Sacramento, Calif.

Trump tweeted Wednesday that voters don't support Newsom's decision on behalf of the "737 stone cold killers".

"Friends and families of the always forgotten VICTIMS are not thrilled, and neither am I!" he added on Twitter. Trump has cultivated an image of himself as a tough-on-crime president and has said drug dealers should face the ultimate penalty. "It has discriminated against defendants who are mentally ill, black and brown, or can't afford expensive legal representation", Newsom said in prepared remarks he is expected to deliver Wednesday morning.

California has the biggest death row population in the country, with one in four U.S. inmates on death row incarcerated in the state. "This is about who I am as a human being, this is about what I can or cannot do; to me this was the right thing to do".

California has the most death row inmates in the USA, according to Politico.

"Racial bias and unfairness run deep throughout the justice system but especially when it comes to the death penalty", she wrote. A judge is reviewing the latest execution protocol submitted by the state, and Newsom believed that its approval could come soon - clearing the way for executions to begin in California again.

Senator Kamala Harris, who is among a crowded field of candidates seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, said she welcomed Newsom's move to end the "deeply flawed system of capital punishment in California". "The intentional killing of another person is wrong". But, no inmate will be released, and no sentence or conviction will be altered, Newsom's executive order says.

His move will also withdraw California's lethal injection protocol and close down the state's execution chamber at San Quentin prison.

Newsom's executive order deviates from the expressed will of California voters, who rejected two statewide ballot measures in the last six years that called for a repeal of the death penalty. Four years later San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, an ardent opponent of capital punishment, was narrowly elected as state attorney general.

A total of 24 inmates on California's death row have already exhausted their appeals.

In 2014, support for the death penalty among Democrats dropped under 50 percent in Pew's polling, the first year in which that happened.

"He's following in the footsteps of other governors who abused this power because they were frustrated by a law that they just personally disagreed with", Kent Scheidegger, legal director of the pro-death penalty Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, told the Los Angeles Times.

  • Rogelio Becker