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- 2020 Democratic candidates Sens. Cory Booker and Kamala Harris are applauding California Governor Gavin Newsom’s plan to halt the death penalty in the state.
- California has 737 inmates on death row, more than any other state.
- Sen. Kamala Harris of California, who previously served as the state’s attorney general, in a tweet referred to capital punishment as "immoral, discriminatory, ineffective, and proven to be unequally applied."
Two high-profile Democratic presidential candidates are lauding California Governor Gavin Newsom’s decision to impose a moratorium on executions in his state.
Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, who’s focused heavily on criminal justice reform throughout his political career, in a tweet said, "Inspired! I applaud @GavinNewsom’s decision to impose a moratorium on this immoral and ineffective policy. Because of his leadership and the activism of people across the country, 737 human beings will not be put to death in the name of the people."
Similarly, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, who previously served as the state’s attorney general, in a tweet referred to capital punishment as "immoral, discriminatory, ineffective, and proven to be unequally applied."
"I applaud Governor @GavinNewsom for his decision to put a moratorium on this deeply flawed system of capital punishment in California," Harris added.
Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2020 campaign, who’s condoned abolishing the death penalty, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from INSIDER on this move. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, another top 2020 candidate, also did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Warren drew attention in 2015 when she opposed the death penalty for Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev
Newsom, a Democrat, is expected to announce the moratorium on the death penalty, which will occur via an executive order, on Wednesday.
According to a statement from Newsom’s office to INSIDER, he’ll say, "I do not believe that a civilized society can claim to be a leader in the world as long as its government continues to sanction the premeditated and discriminatory execution of its people. The death penalty is inconsistent with our bedrock values and strikes at the very heart of what it means to be a Californian."
There have no been no executions in California since 2006, largely due to legal challenges, but there are 737 inmates on death row in the Western state. Newsom’s Wednesday announcement will grant these inmates a temporary reprieve.
Twenty states and Washington, DC, have abolished the death penalty, an issue the public remains divided over.
Roughly 56% of Americans support capital punishment, according to an October 2018 Gallup poll, but that marks a stark decline from roughly a decade ago. Gallup polling from 2006 shows 69% of Americans supported the death penalty.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump slammed Newsom over the move.
"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!" Trump on Wednesday tweeted.
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- California Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to use executive action on the death penalty in a state where more than 730 inmates are on death row