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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…

India: President Pranab Mukherjee rejects mercy plea of 2 convicts of Jharkhand massacre

The mercy plea of 2 convicts, who killed 8 members of a family including a physically disabled youth in Jharkhand nearly 9 years ago, has been rejected by President Pranab Mukherjee.

The President has rejected the plea of the convicts-- Mofil Khan and Mobarak Khan, officials said today. 

The duo had in June 2007 killed Haneef Khan with sharp-edged weapons when he was offering prayers at a mosque in Makandu village under Lohardaga district in the state. After killing him, they murdered his wife and his 6 sons which included the disabled youth. 

A case was registered by the local police against Mofil and Mobarak and 2 other assailants. Following the probe, a local court there had given death sentence to all the accused. However, the Jharkhand High Court had upheld death penalty to Mofil and Mubarak and modified the sentence to life term for the 2 others.

The Supreme Court in its final judgement in October 2014 also upheld the death penalty given to the convicts. 

A mercy petition was then filed before the President through the Home Ministry. The plea, which was received in December last year at the Presidents secretariat, seeking mercy has been rejected by Mukherjee, they said.

After taking over as the President in July 2012, Mukherjee has rejected 26 mercy pleas so far including those of 26/11 terror case convict Ajmal Kasab and 1993 blast case convict Yakub Memon. 

The death sentence in 2 cases has been commuted to life by the President. 2 mercy petitions of Jeetendra Gehlaut alias Jeetu, convicted for killing 5 women and 2 children during a robbery in Maharashtra, and Shabnam, who was convicted for killing 7 members of her family at Amroha in Uttar Pradesh, are pending with the President.

Source: India Today, June 23, 2016

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