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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…

Georgia: States debating alternatives to lethal injection

Lethal injection is the primary method used for the death penalty and in just days it'll be used on a Georgia death row inmate, but the drugs limited availability has some states looking for a new solution.

The method has been the primary use of execution since 1982 and now 1,425 executions later, states are starting to rethink it for the death penalty. 

Virginia has a bill on the table trying to bring back the electric chair. It's passed the state house and senate and now waits for a Governor's signature.

The main reason, the lethal drugs are hard to come by and we are seeing that close to home. Last year, South Carolina ran out of the lethal injection cocktail, putting 44 executions on hold. 

Also in March of last year the 1st woman put on Georgia's death row in 70 years Kelly Gissender had her death rescheduled several times between march and June because the lethal drug again was hard to come by.

Also in June there was a case of cloudiness due to shipping and storing that delayed Gissender's death again. Georgia also had an issue a few years ago where it was running out of the drug completely. 

Starting from 2010 when states where asked to use a new formula several cases had botched drugs causing a slow death for several inmates, several states issued holds on capital punishment.

Right now there are 19 states that have outlawed capital punishment, 5 states since 2009.

Although there have been difficulties case by case, for now, Georgia is continuing with lethal injection for the death penalty. 

Joshua Daniel Bishop is scheduled to die on Thursday for an armed robbery where he beat a man to death for not turning over his Jeep keys. 

Another, Kenneth Fults is set for lethal injection execution on April 12th.

Source: WRDW news, March 28, 2016

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