The governor signed an executive order that halts executions for the 737 inmates now on death row, closes the never-before-used execution chamber at San Quentin State Prison and withdraws the state's lethal injections protocol.
He said that roughly 60 percent of inmates waiting in the state to be executed are people of color while many criminals executed in the past year suffered from mental impairments, adding that in the past 45 years, 164 death-row inmates have been exonerated, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
More than 900 people have been sentenced to death in California since 1978 but only 13 have been executed. "It has provided no public safety benefit or value as a deterrent". Californians rejected a ballot measure which would have ended the death penalty in 2016.
Newsom's action on the death penalty will no doubt place him in the national spotlight.
A total of 24 inmates on California's death row have already exhausted their appeals.
Another key point of Newsom's argument is the wrongful conviction and subsequent overturning of inmates on death row.
US Senator Kamala Harris, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, applauded Newsom's decision. "We're poised to potentially oversee the execution of more prisoners than any other state in modern history", Newsom said in an interview with the LA Times before issuing the moratorium.
California governor to place moratorium on death penalty
Newsom's executive order completely goes against voters' wishes throughout the state.
"He's following in the footsteps of other governors who abused this power because they were frustrated by a law that they just personally disagreed with", Scheidegger said.
"Our death penalty system has been - by any measure - a failure", said Newsom.
Newsom added that as of Wednesday, the equipment used in executions at San Quentin State Prison - the facility where capital punishment was carried out for men in California - was being shut down and removed.
California's death row is crowded with inmates, many of whom have been there for decades. Republican Illinois Gov. George Ryan was the first to do so in 2000, though Illinois has since abolished the death penalty. It has not made the state safer and has wasted billions of taxpayer dollars, according to prepared remarks Newsom plans to deliver Wednesday morning when he signs the order.
Kardashian's support for the death penalty ban has won her praise from her fans - one of whom threw in a dig about her controversial appearance at Chance the Rapper's wedding last weekend.
Newsom's aides said it has not yet been decided what will become of the execution chamber, or whether corrections officials have been told to stop preparing for executions, for instance by running drills.More news: Odell Beckham overshadowed Chiefs-49ers blockbuster Dee Ford trade
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