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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…

Egypt court spares ousted president Mohamed Morsi the death penalty

An Egyptian court recommended death sentences on Saturday for 6 codefendants of Mohamed Morsi but not for the ousted Islamist president in their trial on espionage charges.

The presiding judge in the trial asked the mufti -- the country's official interpreter of Islamic law -- to consider death sentences for the 6 codefendants, saying the court would convene again on June 18 after the mufti's response.

It will then pronounce its verdict and sentence for the remaining 5 defendants, including Morsi, on charges of having supplied Qatar with classified documents.

Egyptian law requires the mufti to sign off on death sentences. 

His opinion is not binding but is usually respected by courts.

Qatar was a main backer of Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood movement while he was in power between 2012 and July 2013, when the military overthrew and detained him.

He has since been sentenced to death, life in prison and 20 years in three separate trials.

Source: Agence France-Presse, May 7, 2016

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