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Texas Should Not Have Executed Robert Pruett

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Update: Robert Pruett was executed by lethal injection on Thursday.
Robert Pruett is scheduled to be executed by the State of Texas Thursday. He has never had a chance to live outside a prison as an adult. Taking his life is a senseless wrong that shows how badly the justice system fails juveniles.
Mr. Pruett was 15 years old when he last saw the outside world, after being arrested as an accomplice to a murder committed by his own father. Now 38, having been convicted of a murder while incarcerated, he will be put to death. At a time when the Supreme Court has begun to recognize excessive punishments for juveniles as unjust, Mr. Pruett’s case shows how young lives can be destroyed by a justice system that refuses to give second chances.
Mr. Pruett’s father, Sam Pruett, spent much of Mr. Pruett’s early childhood in prison. Mr. Pruett and his three siblings were raised in various trailer parks by his mother, who he has said used drugs heavily and often struggled to feed the children. Wh…

Oregon death-row prisoner joins Gary Haugen in seeking execution

Gov. John Kitzhaber
Gov. John Kitzhaber
SALEM -- A second death-row prisoner is challenging Oregon to carry out the death penalty, saying he agrees with co-defendant and fellow inmate Gary Haugen that the legal system is broken and pursuing appeals is pointless.

Jason Van Brumwell, who was sent to death row in 2007 with Haugen after the two were convicted of a prison killing, has written the Oregon Supreme Court that he wants to waive his appeals and is prepared to be executed, he said in a phone interview with The Oregonian.

The development could hand Gov. John Kitzhaber his second death-row dilemma in his current term. Haugen in 2011 waived his appeals and was to be executed in December of that year. But two weeks before the planned execution date, Kitzhaber, who has said he is morally opposed to capital punishment, issued a reprieve for Haugen. He also said he would not allow executions to proceed while he is governor.

It remains to be seen whether Brumwell’s case would increase pressure on Kitzhaber or the Legislature to take additional action with regard to the death penalty. Since Kitzhaber’s announcement, legislators have introduced one bill seeking to ask voters to abolish capital punishment.

But the bill, whose chief sponsor was Rep. Mitch Greenlick, D-Portland, died in the House Judiciary Committee last year.

Source: The Oregonian, January 9, 2014

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