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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…

Texas: Disbarment of Former District Attorney Upheld

Anthony Graves
Anthony Graves
Former Burleson County District Attorney Charles Sebesta Jr. will remain disbarred for his conduct in winning the wrongful capital murder conviction of Anthony Graves.

The Texas Board of Disciplinary Appeals Monday upheld Sebesta's disbarment for "professional misconduct" in the case.

Graves was sentenced to death for the 1992 killings of a Somerville family.

His co-defendant, Robert Carter, originally testified that Graves was involved, but later said only he was responsible for killing the family. 

The State Bar of Texas disbarred the former district attorney for several mistakes in the case, including not correcting Carter's testimony.

Carter was executed in 2000. A federal appeals court overturned Graves' conviction and ordered a new trial in 2006, and Graves was released in 2010 after 18 years behind bars — 16 of which were on death row.

After the bar's decision, Sebesta appealed to the board, arguing that changes in disciplinary procedures warranted overturning his disbarment.

Source: Texas Tribune, Jonathan Silver, Feb. 8, 2016

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