Trump Slams California After Governor Suspends Death Penalty

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More than 700 death row inmates have been given a temporary reprieve after the Governor of California moved to end the use of capital punishment in the state.

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. Federal courts ordered a halt to executions until the California department of corrections and rehabilitation (CDCR) could ensure its lethal injection protocol was administered without risk of exposing inmates to excessive pain.

"If she doesn't appeal, she has political issues having to do with why the chief law enforcement officer in the state is acquiescing in a decision that declares this punishment unconstitutional", said Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, a national nonprofit.

Newsom does not have the power to overturn California's death penalty law, Kreitzberg said, but he can refuse to sign any death warrants and can commute death sentences to life imprisonment.

California's death row is crowded with inmates, many of whom have been there for decades.

Newsom's executive order completely goes against voters' wishes throughout the state.

The moratorium on the death penalty will last as long as Newsom holds office.

He spoke about meeting men imprisoned in San Quentin State Prison, including a former high school classmate on death row and a foster brother who did time for dealing crack cocaine.

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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.

His action comes three years after California voters rejected an initiative to end the death penalty, instead passing a measure to speed up executions. It says innocent people have been sentenced to die, including five Californians since 1973 who were found to have been wrongfully convicted. 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!"

Newsom has been a longtime opponent of the death penalty.

Newsom's decision will be officially announced on Wednesday, according to the NYT. "Voters narrowly approved Proposition 66, a measure on the same ballot to streamline death penalty appeals", the Times reported.

Trump is more likely signaling his defense of the death penalty to the country broadly than trying specifically to undercut Newsom.

Also on death row is Scott Peterson, who murdered his pregnant wife Laci Peterson and their unborn child in 2002. Republican Illinois Governor George Ryan was the first in 2000 and was later followed by Pennsylvania, Washington and Oregon.

In 1990, Dianne Feinstein ran for governor as a pro-death penalty Democrat, views that were booed at the state Democratic Convention that year.

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