Gov. Gavin Newsom will sign an executive order on Wednesday to impose a moratorium on the death penalty in California, vowing that no prisoner in the state will be executed while he is in office because of a belief that capital punishment is discriminatory, unjust and “inconsistent with our bedrock values,” reports the Los Angeles Times.
The order will prevent the state from putting prisoners to death by granting temporary reprieves to all 737 condemned inmates on California’s death row, the largest in the nation. It will immediately close the execution chamber at San Quentin State Prison and scuttle the state’s ongoing efforts to devise a constitutional method for lethal injection. No inmate will be released and no sentence or conviction will be altered, the order says.
Newsom joins governors in Oregon, Colorado and Pennsylvania who have imposed moratoriums on executions in those states, all using executive powers.
The action runs counter to the expressed will of California voters, who over the last six years rejected two statewide ballot measures to repeal the death penalty and favored fast-tracking the appeals process.