Newsom to suspend California death penalty: report

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) is issuing an executive order to suspend the use of the death penalty in his state, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Tuesday.

Newsom called the death penalty "inconsistent with our bedrock values" in a statement obtained by the Chronicle, which accompanies an executive order set to be issued Wednesday. 


“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,” the governor says in the statement. “The death penalty is inconsistent with our bedrock values and strikes at the very heart of what it means to be a Californian.”

Newsom plans to order the closing of a death chamber at San Quentin State Prison and withdraw the state's procedures for lethal injection executions, according to the newspaper. This means he will grant reprieves to the 737 inmates currently on death row, the Chronicle reported.

According to the Chronicle, the governor doesn't have the authority to change state death penalty law. But Newsom said he would grant reprieves to anyone sentenced to death while he is in office.

“The intentional killing of another person is wrong,” he reportedly said. “And as governor, I will not oversee the execution of any individual.”

Newsom's order will follow unsuccessful ballot initiatives in 2012 and 2016 that sought to repeal California's death penalty law.

California, which hasn't executed anyone since Clarence Allen in 2006, has executed 13 people since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, an organization that advocates against capital punishment.

Michele Hanisee, the president of the Association of Deputy District Attorneys, was critical of the decision, telling the Chronicle that Newsom is "usurping the express will of California voters.”