|Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber|
No state law or rule prohibits Gov. John Kitzhaber from canceling the planned execution of death row inmate Gary Haugen, a state attorney argued in court documents this week.
It does not matter that Haugen rejected Kitzhaber's reprieve, wrote state Assistant Attorney General Matthew Donohue. The filing, submitted Monday, asks a state senior judge to dismiss Haugen's lawsuit seeking to invalidate the reprieve.
The Oregonian’s continuing coverage of Gary Haugen, an Oregon death row prisoner, wants to initiate the execution process. Gov. John Kitzhaber blocked his execution and all others in Oregon.Senior Judge Timothy Alexander, who is presiding over the Marion County Circuit Court case, has not set a date for oral arguments in the case.
Haugen, 50, waived his legal appeals and volunteered for execution twice last year, in part to protest a legal system he called unfair. A judge eventually set a Dec. 6 execution date and Haugen expected to become the first inmate to be put to death in Oregon since 1997.
But about 2 weeks before the execution, Kitzhaber announced a reprieve for Haugen. At a news conference, he announced that he would not allow any executions to take place as long as he is governor, criticizing the death penalty as morally wrong and a "perversion of justice."
Kitzhaber had allowed 2 executions to proceed in 1996 and 1997 during his 1st term as governor, actions he said he regretted. Both men, like Haugen, had waived their appeals.
Haugen initially applauded Kitzhaber's decision, pointing out similarities in the governor's criticisms with his own. But he soon changed his mind, saying Kitzhaber left him in limbo.
Portland attorney Harrison Latto agreed to press the issue on his behalf. Latto argued in the complaint that the reprieve is ineffective because Haugen rejected it. He also argued the governor lacks the authority to issue the reprieve because it is for an indefinite period of time and because the governor's moral opposition is not a valid basis for suspending any state law.
Source: The Oregonian, June 7, 2012