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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…

Philippines: Senators won't reimpose death penalty just to accommodate next president

Some senators frowned yesterday on the idea of putting a sunset provision on the proposed restoration of the death penalty, saying lawmakers should vote on the measure based on their convictions.

Incoming Senator Panfilo "Ping" Lacson said the 17th Congress should not pass the measure reimposing the death penalty for just the 6-year duration of the incoming administration only to satisfy President-elect Rodrigo R. Duterte as he goes all out in his campaign against illegal drugs and syndicated crime.

Lacson said he does not believe reimposing the death penalty only during the 6-year term of Duterte would be feasible.

"I don't agree. The Senate is a self-respecting institution and should not legislate to please the incumbent president of the Philippines, which obviously is what will be projected to our people if we include a sunset provision limiting the effectivity of the proposed legislation on the restoration of the death penalty," Lacson said in a text message.

"My take is, either we vote for or against the measure once it reaches the Senate floor depending on our own conviction but definitely not to accommodate the President of the Republic," he said.

It was Sen. Ralph Recto who earlier proposed that death penalty be restored but only during the 6 years of the Duterte administration.

For his part, Sen. Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III said he sees no need for a sunset provision on the measure since laws can be repealed.

"That's a novel approach, but we might open new debates about that on the constitutionality of the provisions," Pimentel said in an interview over DWIZ.

Source: Manila Bulletin, June 14, 2016

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