Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order suspending the death penalty in California on Tuesday.
The governor also ordered the withdrawal of the state’s lethal injection policy and the immediate closure of the execution chamber at San Quentin State Prison.
Newsom’s decision provided an immediate stay of execution for the 737 prisoners on death row. California has the largest death row population in the United States. His order does not change their current conviction or sentence.
In a statement on Wednesday, Newsom said, “The intentional killing of another person is wrong and as Governor, I will not oversee the execution of any individual.”
Newsom believes California’s death penalty is a “failure”
Additionally, he said, “Our death penalty system has been, by all measures, a failure. It has discriminated against defendants who are mentally ill, black and brown, or can’t afford expensive legal representation. It has provided no public safety benefit or value as a deterrent.”
Furthermore, Newsom said California’s death penalty system “wasted billions of taxpayer dollars.” Since 1978, the state has spent $5 billion on the system that executed 13 inmates.