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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…

Nevada: Vegas architects to design new $860,000 execution chamber

Nevada Death Chamber
Nevada Death Chamber
Nevada officials are contracting with a Las Vegas firm to design a new execution chamber at the Ely State Prison.

The state Board of Examiners voted Tuesday to approve a $94,000 contract with the architectural firm Kittrell, Garlock and Associates. 

The funds will go toward remodeling a courtroom area and part of the visitation area to accommodate executions.

Nevada lawmakers approved $860,000 this spring for a new execution chamber. 

The state's existing death chamber at the shuttered Nevada State Prison in Carson City is not in compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act, and state officials have said for about 4 years that they wouldn't be able to carry out capital punishment there.

Executions remain rare in Nevada, which has only carried out the death penalty 12 times since 1977.

Source: Associated Press, December 9, 2015

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