California Gov. Gavin Newsom will sign an executive order suspending the death penalty in his state Wednesday, providing temporary relief to the 737 inmates currently on death row.
According to NPR, the move reverses the will of California voters in November who narrowly voted down a proposition ending the death penalty in the state.
President Donald Trump seized the opportunity to attack the Democratic governor, tweeting Wednesday morning that he isn’t “thrilled” with the decision.
“Defying voters, the Governor of California will halt all death penalty executions of 737 stone cold killers,” the president wrote. “Friends and families of the always forgotten VICTIMS are not thrilled, and neither am I!”
Defying voters, the Governor of California will halt all death penalty executions of 737 stone cold killers. Friends and families of the always forgotten VICTIMS are not thrilled, and neither am I!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 13, 2019
But as NPR reported, despite the legality in the state, California has not executed a prisoner since 2006. That’s because a federal judge ruled that the state’s lethal injection protocol was unconstitutional.
Even so, the California government spent $853,000 to upgrade the execution chamber in San Quentin in 2010. It has remained unused since then.
“Our death penalty system has been — by any measure — a failure,” Newsom said in a written statement. “It has provided no public safety benefit or value as a deterrent. It has wasted billions of taxpayer dollars. But most of all, the death penalty is absolute, irreversible and irreparable in the event of a human error.”
NPR also reported that Newsom believed the death penalty disproportionately affected people of color and people with mental disabilities.
Newsom’s executive order will last as long as he is in office and officially closes the San Quentin execution chamber.
Governors in Washington, Colorado, and Oregon have imposed moratoriums on the death penalty in recent years, while another 18 states and the District of Columbia have outright abolished it.