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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…

Mississippi Senate passes Execution Secrecy Bill

In the future a Mississippi death row inmate's execution and all those involved in the process could be kept from the public.

Senate Bill 2237, introduced by Republican Senator Joey Fillingane, passed Tuesday.

Entitled the "Execution Secrecy Bill", the measure would protect the identities of the execution team, suppliers of the lethal injection drugs and others involved in the execution process.

State Attorney General Jim Hood helped draft the legislation.

He said in reaction to anti-death penalty advocates who have threatened and harassed the companies providing the lethal injections and even the executioner.

"As long as it's the law in Mississippi I've got a duty to carry it out and if there's a method by which I can carry it out without people getting abused; the executioner, the pharmacy that provides the drugs, I think we owe them that protection. It's a state law," said Hood.

Opponents of the Execution Secrecy legislation say the public would not be made aware of the execution process which could possibly be inhumane and not divulge where the drugs were from, how they are administered or their reactions.

We were unable to reach Senator Fillingane and Prisoner Rights Advocates for comment on the execution secrecy bill.

Similar bills have been passed in recent years in Arkansas and Georgia.

Source: WDAM news, Feb. 18, 2016

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