California governor to impose moratorium on executions

Gavin Newsom is all out to fight the death penalty. (AFP pic)

LOS ANGELES: Governor Gavin Newsom will impose a moratorium Wednesday on carrying out the death penalty in California, granting temporary reprieve to the 737 inmates on death row, the largest such group in the United States.

Newsom is a Democrat who took office in January and is a long-standing opponent of the death penalty, which was last carried out in California in 2006.

“The death penalty is inconsistent with our bedrock values and strikes at the very heart of what it means to be a Californian,” Newsom will say, according to prepared remarks.

“The intentional killing of another person is wrong. And as Governor, I will not oversee the execution of any individual,” he will say, according to his office.

The governor plans to sign an executive order to block the death penalty in his state. It will also withdraw California’s lethal injection protocol and close the execution chamber at San Quentin prison, his office said.

It does not provide for the release of any death row inmates from prison.

One in four people on death row in the United States are in California, according to the governor’s office. Twenty-five people on California’s death row have exhausted all of their appeals.