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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…

Philippines: Duterte vows to bring back death penalty

Rodrigo Duterte
Rodrigo Duterte
Philippines President-elect Rodrigo Duterte has vowed to reintroduce capital punishment and give security forces permission to shoot to kill.

The controversial policies are the latest in a series from the soon-to-be leader, including bans on alcohol and smoking and a curfew for children.

He has also promised to turn the presidential palace into a hospital.

Mr Duterte was nicknamed "The Punisher" for his record as the crime-crushing mayor of the southern town of Davao.

More than 1,000 criminals were killed by security forces in Davao during Mr Duterte's stewardship.

Speaking at a press conference in the town, Mr Duterte, 71, said: "What I will do is to urge Congress to restore the death penalty by hanging."

He said permission to shoot to kill would be given for organised crime figures and people resisting arrest.

Mr Duterte courted controversy throughout his election campaign, threatening to kill drug dealers and dump them in Manila Bay.

He vowed to give himself and members of the security forces immunity from prosecution after leaving office, saying: "Pardon given to Rodrigo Duterte for the crime of multiple murder, signed Rodrigo Duterte."

Last month a video emerged showing the candidate joking about an Australian woman who was raped and murdered in Davao while he was mayor, saying she was so beautiful "the mayor should have been 1st".

In 2015, Human Rights Watch described Mr Duterte as the "death squad mayor" for his strong-arm tactics in Davao.

Source: BBC news, May 15, 2016

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