California Governor Gavin Newsom will issue an executive order Wednesday declaring a moratorium on the state’s death penalty, according to news reports, sparing 737 convicted murderers from execution.
The Los Angeles Times notes: “The action runs counter to the expressed will of California voters, who over the last six years rejected two statewide ballot measures to repeal the death penalty and favored fast-tracking the appeals process.”
California voters rejected a repeal of the death penalty as recently as 2016, in the same election where Hillary Clinton carried the state over Donald Trump by more than 3.4 million votes. Proposition 62 failed, 53.6% to 46.4%.
While Newsom’s gesture may impress an increasingly left-wing Democratic Party base, it is sure to be controversial on both sides of the aisle. Earlier this week, Jaime Osuna, a convicted murderer who was spared the death penalty for the gruesome torture and murder in 2011 of Yvette Pena, a mother of six — and who mocked her family in court — was suspected of murdering his cellmate, who was found dead over the weekend.
President Trump, who has frequently sparred with Newsom in public, tweeted Wednesday morning against Newsom’s decision:
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
Newsom, a liberal Democrat who was elected in 2018, has long been an opponent of the death penalty, and is thought to be building a national political profile as he eyes a possible future presidential campaign.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.