Kim Kardashian Tweets Support for Ending the Death Penalty

California Gov. Gavin Newsom

California Gov. Gavin Newsom

Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected on Wednesday to issue a moratorium on the death penalty in California, granting reprieves to the hundreds of people on death row.

An armed California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) officer is seen reflected in the window of a cell at San Quentin State Prison's death row adjustment center on August 15, 2016 in San Quentin, California. However, the death penalty has disproportionately affected people of color and the mentally ill.

But the death penalty is expensive (US$5 billion in California since 1978) and one of every four death row inmates in the USA are in the Golden State.

"Racial bias and unfairness run deep throughout the justice system but especially when it comes to the death penalty".

"The intentional killing of another person is wrong", he said, "and as governor, I will not oversee the execution of any individual". But only California voters can repeal the death penalty, something they rejected narrowly three years ago.

Newsom's aides said it has not yet been decided what will become of the execution chamber, nor whether corrections officials have been told to top preparing for executions, for instance by running drills.

But Newsom's order will go against the wishes of California voters, who in 2016 backed a measure to speed up executions. No inmates will be released as a result of the directive nor will any current sentences be altered.

A quarter of all those on death row in the United States are in California, according to the governor's office.

"The voters of the State of California support the death penalty".

Newsom's action on the death penalty will no doubt place him in the national spotlight. The state came up with a new lethal injection protocol in 2018 but has still been hamstrung by court challenges from the American Civil Liberties Union.

President Donald Trump weighed in on Newsom's decision Wednesday morning, presumably after catching the news on Fox & Friends, and said he was "not thrilled" by the decision.

This could create a challenge for Newsom, since his executive order would be denying the will of the California people.

Newsom made the unusual decision through an executive order.

Seventy-nine condemned California inmates have died of natural causes since the state reinstated capital punishment in 1978. At least 18 of the 25 people who were executed a year ago had significant evidence of mental illness, intellectually damaging brain injuries or chronic childhood trauma or abuse, according to a Death Penalty Information Center report released in December.

"I've never believed in the death penalty from a moral perspective", he said.

Most industrialized nations have abolished the death penalty, yet the US executes more people than any other democracy on the planet.

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