Death Row Inmates Saved From Execution By Governor Of California

A condemned inmate stands in a cell in the yard outside of San Quentin State Prison's death row adjustment center

Calif., Gov. Gavin Newsom will sign an order on Wednesday imposing a moratorium on California's death penalty.

Statistics suggesting that at least one of the 737 inmates on the state's death row was innocent sealed the deal. In California, voters in 2012 rejected a proposition that would have ended the death penalty - though only by a four-point margin.

There are now 737 people on death row in California, making it the state with the largest death row population in the USA -one in four people sentenced to the death penalty in the country are sentenced in California. The expected decision was derided by President Donald Trump Wednesday morning, who tweeted that Newsom was "defying voters" and that the "Friends and families of the always forgotten VICTIMS are not thrilled, and neither am I!" A Pew Research Center poll completed previous year found that a small majority of Americans support the death penalty but that those views were split by party. In February, the association representing deputy district attorneys in Los Angeles County accused the state's elected officials of foot-dragging on enforcing the death penalty and of substituting their own values for the ratified votes of the majority of California's electorate.

"Governor Newsom has demonstrated great courage and leadership in ending the cruel, costly, and unfair practice of executing prisoners", said Alison Parker, US managing director at Human Rights Watch.

"I do not believe that a civilized society can claim to be a leader in the world as long as its government continues to sanction the premeditated and discriminatory execution of its people", he said in a statement issued with the executive order. Newsom's moratorium will therefore fly in the face of the most recent expression of the views of the people of California.

The move is widely seen by both supporters and proponents as of major importance in a national campaign to abolish the death penalty, the New York Times reported.

Because of a series of legal challenges to its method of lethal injection, California hasn't executed a prisoner since 2006.

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

No death row inmates will be released, an administration source told Reuters.

A 2011 study found that the death penalty had cost California taxpayers over $4 billion since its reinstatement in 1978.

In remarks prepared for delivery Wednesday, Newsom calls the death penalty a "failure" that has discriminated against the mentally ill, minorities and the poor.

An armed California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation officer stands guard at San Quentin State Prison's death row.

"The intentional killing of another person is wrong", Newsom said. Capital punishment is considered a legal penalty in the State of California.

Brown said he was satisfied with his record number of pardons and commutations, though he never attempted to commute a death sentence, and with his sweeping changes that eased criminal penalties while reducing the prison population.

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