With Newsom's move, California joins Colorado, Pennsylvania and OR as the fourth state to place a moratorium on the death penalty, though the length and reasoning for the moratoriums vary from state to state.
There are 737 prisoners in California whose executions are now paused after the governor issued a moratorium on the state's death penalty policy, but that doesn't mean anything will change for good - in the state or the country.
Some supporters of the move pointed out that despite California's status as a blue state, Newsom's decision was a bold one in light of voters' recent support for state-sponsored executions. "Friends and families of the always forgotten VICTIMS are not thrilled, and neither am I!" Trump tweeted on Wednesday.
Newsom's order is in effect as long as he is governor.
The moratorium on the death penalty will last as long as Newsom holds office.
But the death penalty so far has been politically untouchable-repeatedly favored by voters despite their progressive tendencies on other issues. Death row inmates are also much more likely to have a mental illness, brain damage or brain injury, or to be intellectually disabled. Capital punishment is considered a legal penalty in the State of California. "And as governor, I will not oversee the execution of any individual", Newsom is expected to say.
On Wednesday, Assemblyman Marc Levine proposed giving Californians yet another chance to weigh in: the San Rafael Democrat is introducing a constitutional amendment that would abolish capital punishment if approved by voters in 2020.
"I met someone yesterday who said this is about eradicating evil, and you have a responsibility to eradicate evil by executing those on death row", he said.More news: Storm Gareth could bring destructive gusts and flooding, warns Met Office
Stunning news in California: newly installed Governor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, will on Wednesday order an immediate suspension of the death penalty in the state for the duration of his term.
More than 60% of prisoners awaiting execution in California are people of color.
The lethal injection chamber at San Quentin State Prison, photographed in 2010. Jerry Brown over their opposition to the death penalty.
Breathtaking news. "Gov. Gavin Newsom is suspending the death penalty in California, calling it discriminatory and immoral and granting reprieves to the 737 condemned inmates on the nation's largest Death Row". "Her choice was ultimately to take the appeal so she doesn't risk having the entire death penalty thrown out". That's more than four times the amount of the second-deadliest state, Virginia, where there were 113 executions, or the third-deadliest, which is Oklahoma with 112 executions.
"I was a young man learning that life story", he said after signing the order.
There are now 737 people on death row in California, making it the state with the largest death row population in the US -one in four people sentenced to the death penalty in the country are sentenced in California.
His action comes three years after California voters rejected an initiative to end the death penalty, instead passing a measure to speed up executions.