Newsom will sign an executive order on Wednesday granting a reprieve to the state's 737 death-row inmates and shutting down the execution chamber at the San Quentin State Prison.
However, that hasn't been much of a problem for California since the state has not executed anyone since 2006 when Arnold Schwarzenegger was governor.
Studies show the death penalty disproportionately affects minority communities and people with mental illnesses.
Newsom said the death penalty isn't a deterrent, wastes taxpayer dollars and is flawed because it is "irreversible and irreparable in the event of human error". "The intentional killing of another person is wrong".
Voters have narrowly supported the death penalty, most recently in 2016 when they voted to speed up the process.
Among those waiting on death row is Luis Bracamontes, an illegal immigrant who killed two law enforcement officers and said in court, "The only thing I [expletive] regret is I only killed two;" and Alberto Hinojosa Medina, who stabbed 21-year-old UCLA student Andrea Del Vesco 19 times in her apartment in Westwood in 2015 before setting the apartment on fire.
No death row inmates will be released, an administration source told Reuters.
"California voters rejected the measure by a margin of 53% to 47%".
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But Newsom has called the death penalty a costly "failure" that discriminates against the mentally ill, minorities and the poor. The order will also immediate close San Quentin State Prison's execution chamber and put an end to the state's continued efforts to find a constitutional method for lethal injection, The Los Angeles Times reported.
"You can't make this up, Anderson", the governor said. In fact, the murder rate in states with the death penalty is consistently higher than in states without it.
This could create a challenge for Newsom, since his executive order would be denying the will of the California people. But executions for more than 20 inmates who have exhausted their appeals could have resumed if those challenges were cleared up, and Newsom has said he anxious that it could happen soon.
Eighteen states and the District of Columbia have already abolished capital punishment.
But Newsom's action will anger death penalty proponents.
"The death penalty is immoral, discriminatory, ineffective, and proven to be unequally applied", she added. "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". In recent years, other states have abolished the death penalty and several other governors have placed moratoriums on executions.