California Gov. Gavin Newsom suspends death penalty for all death row inmates

The governor of California is announcing he is suspending the death penalty in his state, granting reprieves to all 737 condemned inmates currently held on death row.

California has the largest number of inmates sentenced to die in the country. Florida is second when it comes to the number of inmates on death row, according to The Washington Post.

Gov. Gavin Newsom called the death penalty discriminatory and immoral when he announced the decision Tuesday, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

“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,” Newsom said in advance of his executive order expected to be issued today. “The death penalty is inconsistent with our bedrock values and strikes at the very heart of what it means to be a Californian.”

Newsom is also ordering the shutdown of the death chamber at San Quentin State prison, which had its last execution in 2006, the Chronicle reported.

Clarence Ray Allen, 76, was executed in 2006 after being convicted 20 years earlier of a triple murder, The Washington Post reported.

Newsom also said death row has cost his state $5 billion since 1978, NBC News reported.

President Donald Trump fired back at the decision via Twitter, Wednesday morning, saying that he wasn't thrilled with the decision, The Washington Post reported.

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Voters in the state have twice rejected ballot provisions to end the death penalty, once in 2006 and again in 2016, NBC News reported.

Newsom was sworn in as governor in January after serving as California's lieutenant governor for eight years. He has opposed the death penalty, and is directed by his faith as a Catholic to guide policy, the Post reported. But he hasn't always agreed with church dogma in all aspects of governing. The Post reported he has gone against the church doctrine and supports same-sex marriage.

California is not the only state that is doing away with the death penalty. Governors in Pennsylvania and Oregon have already announced the end of executions. Washington state also had a similar measure, the Post reported.

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