California will impose a moratorium on the state's death penalty and close the state's execution chamber, according to a source.
The move would spare 737 inmates facing capital punishment but no death row inmates will be released, said the source, who declined to be identified.
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California Governor Gavin Newsom is expected to say on Wednesday that he believes capital punishment is costly, burdensome and unevenly meted out to minorities and offenders with disabilities.
"I do not believe that a civilised 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 will say, in remarks seen by Reuters.
His order will withdraw California's lethal injection protocol, which has been challenged in court. It will not affect inmates' convictions or their imprisonment other than eliminating their death sentences, the source said.
California's death row is crowded with inmates, including many who have been there for decades.