FEATURED POST

In the crosshairs of conscience: John Kitzhaber's death penalty reckoning

Image
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…

Judge delays Dylann Roof's death penalty trial until January 2017

Dylann Roof
Dylann Roof
Defense lawyers requested postponement to complete psychiatric testing of man who is charged with killing nine black parishioners at a Charleston church

A South Carolina judge on Wednesday delayed until next year the state death penalty trial of Dylann Roof who is charged with killing nine black parishioners at a Charleston church in June of 2015.

Circuit judge JC Nicholson granted a request by Roof’s defense lawyers who provided documents saying a doctor needed two to six more months to complete psychiatric testing of Roof. No other details were mentioned at the hearing and Nicholson sealed the release of any information about Roof’s medical records.

Nicholson moved the trial to 17 January, with jury screening to begin in early December. The trial had been scheduled to start on 11 July – a date Nicholson had set almost a year earlier.

Nicholson warned the defense that he will not grant another postponement and at one point during the 30-minute hearing wondered whether the request was simply a means to delay the trial.

“I can assure you this is not a delaying tactic,” responded defense attorney William McGuire.

When the judge took up the request for the delay, the defense said it would simply rely on the motion it filed last week seeking a postponement.

That motion said that to begin selecting a jury for a trial this summer “while substantial investigation and preparation remains to be done in a case that is neither factually nor legally straightforward would deny the defendant the basic tools for an adequate defense.”

Nicholson said he wanted a monthly report from the doctor updating the court on the progress of the evaluation. Roof was not in the courtroom, although a number of family members of the shooting victims were.


Source: The Guardian, AP, April 13, 2016

- Report an error, an omission: deathpenaltynews@gmail.com - Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Most Viewed (Last 7 Days)

Convicted killer from infamous “Texas 7” prison escape gets execution date

Malaysian court sentences Australian grandmother to death by hanging

Post Mortem – the execution of Edward Earl Johnson

Ohio: Lawyers seek review of death sentence for 23-year-old Clayton man

Texas man on death row for decapitating 3 kids loses appeal

Amnesty International Once Again Highlights Shocking Justice System in Iran

Maria Exposto: Can she avoid execution?

Nebraska seeks July 10 date for state's 1st execution since 1997

Ohio man with execution set for July 18 blames killing on ‘homosexual panic’

In the crosshairs of conscience: John Kitzhaber's death penalty reckoning