An armed California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) officer is seen reflected in the window of a cell at San Quentin State Prison's death row adjustment center on August 15, 2016 in San Quentin, California.
But for prisoners convicted of two separate felonies, a population that includes more than half of the inmates on death row, the governor can not commute death sentences without the approval of the state Supreme Court. As for Newsom, highlighting the issue could elevate his national profile, but could also ignite a firestorm of protest by crime victim advocates, President Trump and others.
The move isn't particularly surprising considering the Democrat's record as an elected official - he was an early proponent of same-sex marriage as mayor of San Francisco - and considering California's politics.
Newsom's order drew criticism from some law enforcement groups, including the Association of Deputy District Attorneys, a prosecutors' association.
Trump's referral to defying voters was about two different attempts in the past six years to repeal the death penalty in California at the ballot box, both of which failed.
Death penalty opponents hope California's suspension of executions will inspire other states to follow suit.
Governor Newsom's office also stated that 25 inmates now on death row could have possibly faced execution if the new lethal injection method had managed to pass the courts.
"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", Newsom said in a prepared statement obtained by news agencies. "Gov. Newsom.is usurping the express will of California voters".
But her stance was derirded by those who support the death penalty, with some mocking her for weighing in on such a weighty topic. The last execution held in California occurred in 2006 when 76-year-old Clarence Ray Allen, who was convicted of killing three people, was executed. But executions for more than 20 inmates who have exhausted their appeals could have resumed if those challenges were cleared up, and Newsom has said he anxious that it could happen soon.
The third main angle of Newsom's argument is that the death penalty is "costly and burdensome", costing the state $5 billion since 1978.
"Here is the bottom line: Our death penalty system has been - by any measure - a failure", Newsom said in a statement, according to Politico. Human Rights Watch believes these rights can not be reconciled with the death penalty, a form of punishment unique in its cruelty and finality. "The intentional killing of another person is wrong".
UFC 235 titlists, challengers all make weight
While MMA enthusiasts will criticize Lesnar for being a WWE wrestler, his credentials are proof of how good he is in the octagon. Jones finished uneventfully and remained unbeaten since 2009, winning a decision for the fifth time in his last seven fights.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan: We're going to fight until the end
He put in more crosses in open play than anyone else (5), and likewise made more key passes (3) than any of his team-mates. Emery said: 'We have a lot of matches and it's important to have big performances like this'.