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In the crosshairs of conscience: John Kitzhaber's death penalty reckoning

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To cope with his dread, John Kitzhaber opened his leather-bound journal and began to write.
It was a little past 9 on the morning of Nov. 22, 2011. Gary Haugen had dropped his appeals. A Marion County judge had signed the murderer's death warrant, leaving Kitzhaber, a former emergency room doctor, to decide Haugen's fate. The 49-year-old would soon die by lethal injection if the governor didn't intervene.
Kitzhaber was exhausted, having been unable to sleep the night before, but he needed to call the families of Haugen's victims.
"I know my decision will delay the closure they need and deserve," he wrote.
The son of University of Oregon English professors, Kitzhaber began writing each day in his journal in the early 1970s. The practice helped him organize his thoughts and, on that particular morning, gather his courage.
Kitzhaber first dialed the widow of David Polin, an inmate Haugen beat and stabbed to death in 2003 while already serving a life sentence fo…

Connecticut death row inmates remain in legal limbo despite ruling

WETHERSFIELD -- Conditions on Connecticut’s death row remain unchanged more than four months after the Connecticut Supreme Court found the state’s death penalty unconstitutional.

But Correction Commissioner Scott Semple said he is working to change a policy that requires those inmates to be in restraints any time they leave their cells.

Defense attorneys predicted after the August ruling that the 11 inmates currently housed on death row at Northern Correctional Institution would be reclassified and join the general prison population.

But prosecutors are hoping to overturn the Supreme Court ruling when they argue another death-penalty appeal in January.

Semple says until the legal issues are resolved, the inmates will remain where they are.

Source: The Associated Press, December 26, 2015

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