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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…

Japan: Bar association chief criticizes naming of man sentenced to death

Typical death-row cell, Osaka Prison
Typical death-row cell, Osaka Prison
TOKYO — The head of the Japanese bar association on Friday criticized news organizations that reported the name of a man sentenced to death for a double murder committed when he was a juvenile.

“It is regrettable that the news reports violated the juvenile law, which bans publishing articles and photographs that could identify a juvenile delinquent,” Kazuhiro Nakamoto, president of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, said in a statement.

The statement was issued after the Supreme Court upheld lower court rulings that sentenced to death the man who was 18 when he killed two women and seriously injured a man in 2010.

Major newspapers including the Asahi, Yomiuri and Nikkei, as well as Kyodo News published the man’s name on the grounds that the opportunity for rehabilitation ends when a death penalty is finalized, and the name of a person to be executed by the state should not be kept confidential.

Some other major newspapers, including the Mainichi and the Tokyo Shimbun, reported the Supreme Court decision without revealing the name of the man to be executed, saying the chance for his rehabilitation remains due to the possibility of amnesty or retrial.

Nakamoto said the dignity and the constitutionally guaranteed right to the pursuit of happiness of a minor are not terminated with the finalization of a death sentence.

“While it is needless to say that constitutionally guaranteed freedom of expression is important and it is necessary to report the details of a crime in order to prevent the recurrence of similar incidents, it cannot be said the real name and photo of a minor are indispensable factors for news reports,” the national bar association head said.

Source: Japan Today, June 18, 2016

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