Gavin Newsom (D) will announce Wednesday that he plans to sign an executive order placing a moratorium on state executions. Newsom also says innocent people have been wrongly convicted and sometimes executed.
There are now 24 inmates on death row who have run out of appeals to their sentence.
"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". In California, voters in 2012 rejected a proposition that would have ended the death penalty - though only by a four-point margin.
Since 1973, a total of 164 prisoners nationally - including five from California - have been freed after they were wrongfully convicted, according to "The Innocence List" maintained by The Death Penalty Information Center.
California has not put an inmate to death since 2006, amid legal challenges to its execution protocols and discomfort with the sentence among political leaders.
There are now 737 people on death row in California, making it the state with the largest death row population in the USA -one in four people sentenced to the death penalty in the country are sentenced in California.
"The voters of the State of California support the death penalty".
But Newsom has called the death penalty a costly "failure" that discriminates against the mentally ill, minorities and the poor.
A court-ordered moratorium on executions has been in place since February 2006, when a federal judge declared that California's lethal injection protocol was unconstitutional.
The expected decision was derided by President Donald Trump Wednesday morning, who tweeted that Newsom was "defying voters" and that the "Friends and families of the always forgotten VICTIMS are not thrilled, and neither am I!"
The order will also immediately close the execution chamber at San Quentin and states that the directive "does not provide for the release of any individual from prison or otherwise alter any current conviction or sentence", according to Newsom's office.
In some other states that have abolished the death penalty, the move away from capital punishment began with a governor who refused to sign death warrants, she said. Scheidegger said that Newsom can grant reprieves to condemned inmates but cannot order the closing of the death chamber or the halting of the effort to find a new lethal injection. In fact, the murder rate in states with the death penalty is consistently higher than in states without it.
"You can't make this up Anderson", Newsom said with a laugh. "The disparities are really real and raw to me now, as I spend every week working on the issues of paroles and commutations and, substantively I see those disparities". He has not committed one way or the other about whether he will push another death penalty repeal initiative in 2020.