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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…

Philippines: Presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte wants death penalty back and public executions

Presidential hopeful Rodrigo Duterte
Presidential hopeful Rodrigo Duterte
Presidential candidate and Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte's latest sound bite reinforced his iron-hand stance against crime: He not only wants the death penalty back, he also wants the execution to be opened to the public.

"I will work for the restoration of the death penalty. I will really bring it back, and make it in public, so that the people will see for themselves [how criminals are punished]," Duterte told a cheering crowd that attended a rally here on Wednesday.

Duterte first expressed his support for the restoration of the death penalty and the introduction of public execution before the campaign period in Davao City.

The 1987 Constitution abolished the death penalty, although it does not close its door to its restoration.

Section 19 of the Charter's Bill of Rights (Article III) states: "Excessive fines shall not be imposed, nor cruel, degrading or inhuman punishment inflicted. Neither shall the death penalty be imposed, unless, for compelling reasons involving heinous crimes, the Congress hereafter provides for it. Any death penalty already imposed shall be reduced to reclusion perpetua."

Duterte spoke to a crowd of about 3,000, mostly college students, inside the University of Cagayan Valley gymnasium here.

Repeating a promise he made earlier, Duterte asked voters to give him "3 to 6 months" to stamp out criminality in the country.

He said he would take "full responsibility, legal or otherwise" for any human rights or administrative charges that may be slapped against lawmen who would be accused of killing criminals.

The feisty mayor flew to this city without his vice presidential candidate, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano. From the airport, Duterte first met with Tuguegarao Archbishop Sergio Utleg. His convoy then drove around the city, where people who lined up the main street chanted "Duterte! Duterte!"

In his 40-minute speech, the audience laughed every time he punctuated his statements with one-liners about his penchant for executing criminals.

Source: inquirer.net, Feb. 9, 2016

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