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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…

E.U.: Declaration by the Committee of Ministers on the death penalty in the USA

The following declaration was adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 10 February 2016 at the 1247th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies.

The Committee of Ministers deplores the execution of five persons in the United States since the beginning of 2016. 

It recalls that capital punishment contravenes the principles set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the European Convention on Human Rights and reiterates its appeal to the United States authorities to introduce a moratorium on the death penalty as a first step towards abolition.

The Committee of Ministers is following with concern the debate relating to the lifting of the moratorium on executions in the State of California following the possible introduction of a new lethal injection protocol. 

It urges the Californian authorities not to go back on the moratorium put in place in 2006 so as to ensure that the death penalty remains a thing of the past.

Source: Council of Europe, Conseil de l'Europe, February 11, 2016

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