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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…

Bill to End Death Penalty Introduced in Kansas

The Senate chambers in the Kansas Statehouse.
The Senate chambers in the Kansas Statehouse.
Today, a group of 17 legislators, led by former judge, Representative Steven Becker, introduced a bill in the Kansas House of Representatives that would end the death penalty in Kansas. 

This group of 11 Republicans and 6 Democrats cosponsored Bill 2515, which would repeal the death penalty and replace it with a maximum punishment of Life Without Parole.

This group of legislators plans to speak on the matter and address the media at 11:45 a.m. on Thursday, January 28th in the 2nd Floor Capitol Rotunda. 

They will be joined by recent exoneree, Floyd Bledsoe, who will also speak about his story and what happens when the justice system does not work as it should. 

Come join us all as we listen to these leaders speak about the practical and moral reasons to end the death penalty.

Bill 2515

- This bill would save Kansas taxpayers millions of dollars over the next 10 years and would continue saving money into the future. The bill designates these savings to be captured and allocated to the budget-starved Department of Corrections.

- This bill would also prevent Kansas from committing the gravest injustice thinkable -- sentencing an innocent person to death.

- Finally, this bill would put Kansas on the right side of history, joining 18 other states, and the VAST majority of developed nations, by ending the morally bankrupt practice of executing its own citizens.

Source: KCADP, January 22, 2016

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