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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…

Federal Appeals Court Temporarily Halts Execution of Ukrainian Man in Virginia

Ivan Teleguz
Ivan Teleguz
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has issued a temporary stay of execution for Ivan Teleguz, a Ukrainian national who was convicted of ordering the 2001 murder of his girlfriend, Stephanie Sipe. 

He was scheduled to be put to death on April 13.

Following his conviction, 2 witnesses recanted their testimony against him, with 1 of them saying he fabricated most of his testimony to avoid the death penalty himself. 

During the trial, the jury was told that Teleguz was involved in another murder that did not in fact occur as alleged.

"A man's life hangs in the balance based on the faulty testimony of witnesses, one of whom later claimed to have lied to avoid the death penalty" said James Clark, senior death penalty campaigner for Amnesty International USA. "This is clearly a broken system that must be ended entirely. Ivan Teleguz's sentence must be commuted permanently."

Source: Amnesty International USA, March 29, 2016

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