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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…

Louisiana seeks to limit attorney fees in death row heat lawsuit

 Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola
BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana corrections officials want a federal judge to reduce the nearly $890,000 that a team of lawyers is requesting in a lawsuit over hot conditions on death row at the Louisiana State Penitentiary.

The Advocate reports the attorneys for Elzie Ball, Nathaniel Code and James Magee are asking Chief U.S. District Judge Brian Jackson to order the state to pay the attorneys $795,550 in fees and another $92,000-plus in costs.

Lawyers for the state claim in court documents that the billing records for the inmates attorneys are "compromised by vague entries, imprecise record-keeping, duplicative work and unreasonable time expended without adequate justification."

The judge has given the inmates' attorneys until Jan. 13 to respond to the state's opposition.

Source: nola.com, December 30, 2015

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