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California Gov. Gavin Newsom abolishes the state’s death penalty

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Gov. Newsom of California ends death penalty
Gov. Gavin Newsom is ending the death penalty in California.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, the recently elected Democratic executive of America’s largest state, is ending the death penalty there, granting a reprieve to more than 700 people on death row.

Newsom is issuing Wednesday an executive order halting executions. There are 737 inmates currently on death row, according to the Sacramento Bee; some of them have been there for decades.

“Our death penalty system has been — by any measure — a failure,” Newsom said in announcing his decision. “The intentional killing of another person is wrong. And as governor, I will not oversee the execution of any individual.” He said executions wasted money, didn’t make residents safer, and discriminated against people with mental illness or people of color.


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