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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…

Malaysia may amend death penalty: Minister

Meth bust in Malaysia
Meth bust in Malaysia
Malaysia may amend the death sentence mandatory for 12 criminal offences after government-backed studies showed that the capital punishment had not led to the desired effects.

“There are positive signs in Malaysia and a steady momentum towards possible change in the death penalty legislation,” Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nancy Shukri told the World Congress Against The Death Penalty in Oslo recently.

Currently, the death penalty is mandatory in Malaysia for 12 offences while 20 other offences are punishable with discretionary death penalty.

Murder, drug trafficking, and offences related to security are punishable with death, Nancy said.

The minister said that a government-backed study on the death penalty had been completed and a paper was being readied by the Attorney General’s Chambers.

The study was conducted by the International Centre For Law and Legal Studies (I-CeLLS).

However, Nancy said empirical studies showed that the death penalty had not led to “the deterring effect that such a penalty was created.”

“Although Malaysia is generally in compliance with international standards in so far as the relevant safeguards (on capital punishment) are concerned, Malaysia’s position on death penalty has always been subjected to national and international criticisms.”

Source: The Tribune, June 22, 2016

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