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…

Stop the state of Georgia from executing Kenny Fults

Kenny Fults
Kenny Fults
Kenny Fults is a Georgia death row inmate facing execution on April 12, 2016. Because Kenny's death sentenced is contaminated by racial bias, his case is an embarrassment to our justice system. His execution must be stopped.

Kenny is an African-American man who reads only on a 4th grade level and has an IQ that places him in the bottom 3 % of the population. In 1996, he pled guilty to the murder of a white woman in a small Georgia town. After his guilty plea, a jury sentenced Kenny to death.

A few years after the trial, Thomas Buffington, one of the jurors who sentenced Kenny to death, said this in a sworn affidavit: "I don't know if he ever killed anybody, but that nigger got just what should have happened. Once he pled guilty, I knew I would vote for the death penalty because that's what that nigger deserved."

In a recent editorial, professors Charles Ogletree and David J. Harris asked readers to "raise your hand if you believe that a juror could make this statement and be considered fair and impartial." Of course, no one would raise their hand. However, the courts in Georgia have refused to even consider the issue and now Kenny Fults is in line to be executed by the state of Georgia despite the fact that racism infected the sentencing process in Kenny's case.

In addition to the racist juror, Kenny was represented by an overworked, contract defense lawyer with a checkered racist history. The attorney, Johnny Mostiler, carried a crushing caseload. It was so bad that one of the leading experts in the field of attorney caseloads stated that he had "grave concerns about Mr. Mostiler's ability to adequately defend any of his clients given the workload he was carrying." Jurors interviewed after Kenny's trial commented on the minimal effort that Mostiler put into the case and observed him sleeping in court during the trial. In other cases, Mostiler was accused of using the term "nigger" and calling his client "a little nigger." Mostiler did not deny accusations, but added that "nigger" was not a phrase that he would use in public.

A person's race can never be a factor in judicial decision making. In Kenny's case, however, it was the only factor that mattered to Juror Buffington. Kenny's execution should not be allowed to go forward under these circumstances. In Georgia, only the State Board of Pardons and Paroles can grant clemency and commute Kenny's sentence to life without any possibility of parole.

It is time to raise your hand and say that because racial bias taints this death sentence, Kenny Fults should not be executed. Please sign this petition asking the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles to commute Kenny Fults's death sentence to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

For more information please visit www.savekennyfults.com


Source: change.org, April 2016

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

Most Viewed (Last 7 Days)

New Hampshire: More than 50,000 anti-death penalty signatures delivered to Sununu

Texas: The accused Santa Fe shooter will never get the death penalty. Here’s why.

Post Mortem – the execution of Edward Earl Johnson

Malaysian court sentences Australian grandmother to death by hanging

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

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

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

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