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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…

Indonesia: Police Tight-Lipped About the Death Penalty in Cyanide Coffee Case

Jessica Kumala Wongso
Jessica Kumala Wongso
Jakarta. Police remained tight-lipped on Wednesday (02/03) about Indonesia's guarantee that murder suspect Jessica Kumala Wongso, a permanent resident of Australian, will not face the death penalty.

The Jakarta Police have sought assistance from the Australian Federal Police in their investigation into the case of Wayan Mirna Salihin, killed in early January from drinking cyanide-spiked coffee at a cafe of a high-end Central Jakarta mall.

Jakarta Police officials last week flew to Australia to discuss the case, and said the Australian government has officially approved their request.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported on Sunday that a spokeswoman for Justice Minister Michael Keenan, who personally signed the request, had told Fairfax Media: "The Indonesian government has given its assurance to the Australian government that the death penalty will not be sought" against Jessica.

Jakarta Police general crimes director Sr. Comr. Krishna Murti, meanwhile, confirmed to Fairfax Media the approval came after Indonesia's Attorney General's Office guaranteed it would not demand the death penalty.

But Jakarta Police chief Insp. Gen. Tito Karnavian, asked on Wednesday about the guarantee, replied: "I will not comment on the matter. It is better to avoid further polemics."

"I have called on my subordinates to just focus on collecting evidence and completing the case dossiers," Tito added.

Police said that Australian authorities will assist in investigating the relationship between Jessica and Mirna, who had studied together at Billy Blue College of Design in Sydney and the Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne.

Police have charged Jessica with premeditated murderer under Article 340 of Indonesia's Criminal Law. If found guilty, she may be sentence to life or at least 20 years in prison.

Source: Jakarta Globe, March 2, 2016

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