California Governor Gavin Newsom announces in a news conference on Wednesday that he signed a moratorium on the death penalty.
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.
The action suspends any further executions in California as long as Newsom is governor, his office said. But only California voters can repeal the death penalty, something they rejected narrowly three years ago.
Our death penalty system has been — by any measure — a failure.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom
The governor's office said Newsom's order also will immediately close the state's execution chamber at San Quentin State Prison but does not otherwise change any existing convictions or sentences — and will not lead to any death row inmates being released.
"Our death penalty system has been — by any measure — a failure," Newsom said in a written statement. "It has provided no public safety benefit or value as a deterrent. It has wasted billions of taxpayer dollars. But most of all, the death penalty is absolute, irreversible and irreparable in the event of a human error."
The executive order also will argue that capital punishment is inherently unfair — applied more often to people of color and those with mental disabilities, according to an administration source.
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