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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…

Kenya to abolish death penalty

Nairobi, Kenya
Nairobi, Kenya
The death penalty in Kenya could be abolished by 2019.

Chief State Counsel Emily Chweya has said the government is set to undertake public awareness on the need to abolish death penalty before implementation in 2019.

Chweya said this follows recommendations given to the government in January 2015 after Kenya's human rights performance was reviewed by state delegations in Geneva.

"The government will undertake public perception survey on the need for the abolition of the death penalty before a review of the perception is made", she said.

"In efforts by the government to abolish the penalty, we intend to amend the provisions of the penal code for abolition which will be adopted before 2019," Chweya said.

She said the process will be measured by the number of sensitization forums held, findings of the public perception survey and the adoption of the revised penal code.

Chweya said the state delegations had also recommended that the government conforms the juvenile justice system to be in accordance with international standards so as to "prevent children from being legally accountable".

"Our immediate indicators is to have Children's Act reviewed and enacted to increase the age of criminal responsibility from 8 to 12 years despite incorporating the juvenile justice systems," Chweya said.

She reiterated their action plan was to enact and operationalize the legal aid act by establishing and funding the National Legal Aid Service Board.

Source: The Star, June 3, 2016

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