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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…

India's Supreme Court Stays Execution Of Convict In Rape, Murder Of 5-Year-Old

India's Supreme Court
India's Supreme Court
A man, who was to be hanged on Wednesday for raping and killing a 5-year-old last year in Madhya Pradesh, got a fresh lease of life as the Supreme Court today stayed his execution and sought response of the state government on his appeal in the case.

A bench, comprising Chief Justice TS Thakur and Justices R Banumathi and UU Lalit, stayed the execution after taking note of the petition filed by convict Sachin K Singhraha, a Madhya Pradesh resident, against the High Court verdict confirming his death penalty awarded by a local court.

Singhraha, in his appeal, has sought a stay on the operation of the death warrant.

The petition alleged that the prosecution had failed to prove the case against him beyond reasonable doubt and the trial court was wrong in awarding him the death penalty.

It said the trial court did not give any special reason for "imposing death sentence upon the convict" and the high court while confirming the death sentence has also failed to give any special reasons for imposing death sentence. It also claimed that his case did not fall in the category of "rarest of rare" so as to be awarded death sentence.

According to the prosecution, on February 23 last year, Singhraha had kidnapped the victim, raped her and subsequently murdered her after 2 days.

Thereafter, the convict threw girl's dead body in a well with a view to destroy the evidence.

The convict, however, had told the trial court that he was innocent and falsely implicated in the case.

In its order, the trial court had held the accused guilty and awarded death penalty, which was further confirmed by the High Court.

Source: ndtv.com, March 29, 2016

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