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

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…

Japan: Diet enacts law for mandatory recording of suspect questioning

Japanese police officers
CRIME MAY. 25, 2016 - 06:49AM JST ( 25 ) TOKYO — The Japanese Diet on Tuesday enacted a law to make a series of changes to criminal proceedings, including obligating police and prosecutors to record interrogations of suspects and expanding the scope of wiretapping by investigators.

But questions remain regarding whether the measures will sufficiently protect people from facing false charges, with the number of cases subject to audiovisual recording to improve the transparency of investigations limited to around 3% of total offenses.

Under the law, which will be brought into effect within three years, the entirety of interrogation processes must be recorded in cases subject to lay judge trials, including murder and robbery resulting in death, as well as cases investigated by special prosecutor squads, which often deal with corporate crimes and corruption.

Recording will also be limited to the questioning of “suspects,” not “defendants” detained after being indicted in different cases. As an exception, investigators will be allowed to stop recording if they decide a suspect is being uncooperative.

The law also expands the range of cases in which investigators can wiretap phones and e-mails by adding nine further types of crimes including murder, fraud and robbery, and drug crime.

A plea bargaining system will also be introduced, in which prosecutors will agree not to indict or to withdraw an indictment if the suspect or defendant gives evidence against another person.

The bill to revise the Code of Criminal Procedure and other laws passed the House of Councillors last week. It was sent to the House of Representatives for passage on Tuesday.

Source: Japan Today, May 25, 2016

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