Business Standard

California Governor to halt state executions

IANS  |  Washington 

will impose on Wednesday a moratorium on state executions and a temporary reprieve for all 737 inmates on death row in the state, the media reported.

According to the Washington Post, will sign an order later in the day, describing the death penalty as "inconsistent with our bedrock values".

has not carried out any executions since 2006, as a series of court battles over execution methods have been waged. The order will give a reprieve from execution - though not release - to California's 737 death row inmates, about a quarter of the nation's population awaiting

It will also annul California's and close the execution chamber at San Quentin State Prison, where the state's most notorious criminals have been put to death.

The took office in January and a death penalty moratorium was one of his campaign pledges.

"I do not believe that a civilized society can claim to be a in the world as long as its government continues to sanction the premeditated and discriminatory execution of its people," he said in a statement issued with the order.

"In short, the death penalty is inconsistent with our bedrock values and strikes at the very heart of what it means to be a Californian."

Two voter initiatives to end the death penalty in narrowly failed to gain a majority in recent years, with 48 per cent support in 2012 and 47 per cent support in 2016. supported both initiatives.

But a separate proposition voted on in 2016 won support for its demand to speed up executions in California.

The Governor does not have the power to abolish the state's 1978 death penalty legislation permanently. A repeal would require a popular vote in favour of the change. The next opportunity for such a ballot would be at the 2020 elections.

The Newsom issues now will expire when he leaves office. His current term lasts until January 2023.

More than 900 people have been sentenced to death in California since 1978, but only 13 have been executed. Another 79 died of natural causes and a further 26 took their own lives, according to figures from the

The death penalty is a legal punishment in 30 US states. Since 1976, carried out the most executions (560), followed by (113) and (112). There are 2,738 inmates on death row in the US.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, March 13 2019. 14:34 IST