While campaigning for governor previous year, Newsom said he was fervently opposed to the death penalty but didn't "want to get ahead of the will of the voters" and wanted to "give the voters a chance to reconsider".
In response to questions Wednesday, the District Attorney's Office said it was unclear how the moratorium would affect current death cases and would be reviewing it. District Attorney Summer Stephan was critical of Newsom's decision.
Newsom has scheduled a press conference for 10 o'clock this morning to discuss his planned Executive Order.
"I can not sign off on executing hundreds and hundreds of human beings".
The California Constitution gives the governor power to grant reprieves to inmates, and Newsom's move generated widespread praise from fellow Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and California Sen.
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 top preparing for executions, for instance by running drills.
"Reprieves, the governor does have the power to do that".
Newsom said the death penalty has been meted out unevenly, often discriminating against the poor and people of color.
"The data shows it doesn't work, It is discriminatory, it costs tons of money and innocent people are convicted", said Eric Quandt, the SF Deputy Public Defender.
His move is part of a larger swing in California away from tough-on-crime policies.
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Newsom plans to say that the death penalty is racist and classist.
"The death penalty has been an abject failure", tweeted California Governor Gavin Newsom who has signed an executive order to stop the practice". Since the death penalty was reinstated by the Supreme Court in 1976, the state has executed 13 people. It will also contribute to a broader effort by death penalty abolitionists to oppose capital punishment through the legislative, judicial, and executive branches.
Republican Assemblyman Tom Lackey, a former highway patrolman, accused Newsom of going back on his word to voters not to interfere with executions.
Stanislaus County District Attorney Birgit Fladager, president of the California District Attorneys Association, also criticized Newsom for circumventing the will of a majority of voters.
"He's said conflicting statements".
"The American justice system is completely broken, and we all are perpetuating it", Newsom said in an interview with ABC KGO.
It appears Californians may yet have another chance to weigh in. Voter efforts failed in 2012 and 2016, and voters approved a measure past year to speed up the time from conviction to execution.
"We've never before had that type of leadership on one of these initiatives", said Levine, of San Rafael. "To me this is the right thing to do". "How do we administer justice properly?"
Newsom followed the lead of the governors of Colorado, Oregon, and Pennsylvania, who also recently announced moratoriums on capital punishment, as well as Washington State's Supreme Court, which banned the practice previous year. They have been lobbying Newsom to do the same since he was sworn-in in January. A week ago she and Jonathan's mother, Milena (Sellers) Phillips, were at the state Supreme Court for a hearing on Erskine's appeal of his death sentence - 15 years after he was sentenced to death.