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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…

Manufacturing illicit liquor in Bihar could soon lead to death penalty

Patna, Bihar
Patna, Bihar
Patna: The Bihar government is bringing a bill to award capital punishment for manufacturing illicit liquor once prohibition comes into effect in the state from 1 April, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said on Wednesday.

The government would bring a legislation in the ongoing budget session of the Assembly against liquor sale in which there would be a provision of capital punishment for those caught manufacturing illicit liquor, he said.

Bihar government has decided to impose prohibition of country and spiced liquor in the state and restricted sale of Indian Made Foreign Liquor from 1 April.

For sustaining the livelihood of those involved in the business of liquor, the government has offered them to sell products of Sudha Dairy from their counters.

"The officials have told me, so far they have received over 200 applications for opening Sudha Dairy outlets in place of those selling liquor from across the state," Kumar told reporters in his Assembly chamber.

The state-run Bihar State Milk Co-operative Federation Ltd markets its products under the brand name "Sudha Dairy". Kumar expressed optimism that many more such proposals would pour in from different parts of the state.

He said a comprehensive campaign was underway to convince people to give up drinking.

"More than 40 lakh volunteers including members of self-help groups are going from house to house to ask people to give up the habit of drinking," he said.

Moreover, students in 72,000 government schools in the state were given a declaration form which they have to get signed by their parent not to touch liquor.

Kumar said officials were identifying habitual boozers for their treatment in a de-addiction centre, which every district would have at least one.

Kumar asserted prohibition would bring a social revolution particularly in rural areas where many a household were ruined due to drinking habit of the earning member.

"Encouraging results to this effect have started coming from hinterland where women have been organising campaign against alcohol," he added.

Source: F. India, March 9, 2016

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