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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 petitions of three more death-row convicts, taking his tally of rejections to 37

President Pranab Mukherjee
Indian President Pranab Mukherjee
President Pranab Mukherjee rejected on August 7 mercy petitions from three death-row convicts, Shabnam, Jasvir Singh and Vikram Singh. 

The information about these rejections was uploaded on the website of the President’s secretariat only today. 

While Shabnam’s mercy petition was received in President’s Secretariat from the Ministry of Home Affairs, on March 31, those of Jasvir Singh and Vikram Singh were received on June 23. 

Shabnam, along with her husband, Salim were co-accused in a murder case, that was tried against them on the allegations that they had committed murders of seven persons who were the members of Shabnam’s family during 14-15 April, 2008. 

Their death sentences were confirmed by the Supreme Court on May 15, 2015. 

Shabnam is lodged in Moradabad jail, while Salim is in Agra jail. Their only child, delivered by Shabnam in jail, has been given in adoption. 

Jasvir Singh and Vikram Singh, now in Patiala Central jail, were convicted and sentenced to death, for the murder of 16-year-old school boy, Abhi Verma, in 2005. 

The Supreme Court commuted Jasvir Singh’s wife, Sonia’s sentence to life term in the same case in January 2010. 

In August last year, a three-member Bench headed by Justice TS Thakur dismissed their appeal, challenging the validity of Section 364A of the IPC, that provides for death penalty for the crime of kidnapping someone for ransom.

Source: Live Law, August 14, 2016.

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In the crosshairs of conscience: John Kitzhaber's death penalty reckoning