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…

Utah May be Forced to Use the Firing Squad in Future Executions

 Utah's firing squad execution chair
Utah's firing squad execution chair
Utah is one step closer to returning to the firing squad as its only realistic form of capital punishment.

The Pfizer drug company has announced that it will no longer make available several of its drugs for use in state-sanctioned executions. Pfizer was the only U.S. firm still making, and allowing, drugs used in executions.

18 months ago Utah Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clinton, got his HB11 passed into law. It specifically says if lethal drugs aren't available at the time a death warrant is to be imposed, then the form of execution shall be a firing squad.

In the 2016 Legislature retiring Sen. Steve Urquhart, R-St. George, had SB189, which would have done away with the death penalty in Utah from this time forward.

Those already sentenced to death could still be executed.

SB189 passed in the Senate, but never got a vote by the whole House.

An anti-death penalty group estimates that it costs $1.6 million for Utah to go through all the of court appeals in a capital case, much more than it would cost to keep a convicted murderer in prison for life.

Urquhart and others argued that the death penalty is archaic and that modern DNA and other criminal high-tech detection shows some people are convicted of, and executed for, crimes they did not commit.

Since 1975, when the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty, Utah has executed 7 murderers and have 9 currently on death row awaiting execution.

With the international drug firm's decision over the weekend, it now appears those Utah murderers, if they are finally executed, will be killed by firing squad.

Source: utahpolicy.com, May 16, 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’