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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…

New Zealander Peter Gardner still awaiting verdict on meth charges in China

Peter Gardner
Peter Gardner
The New Zealander arrested in China in 2014 for allegedly trying to leave the country with 30 kilograms of methamphetamine is still in jail awaiting a verdict.

Peter Gardner has been in a Chinese jail cell for over a year, after he was stopped at Guangzhou Baiyan International Airport and allegedly caught with $25 million of meth in his bags.

Speaking on The Nation, China's ambassador to New Zealand Wang Luton said a decision on his verdict is still being discussed, and the death penalty is a possibility.

"I think our people in China are still working on this case, and China is a country of the rule of law. We will do anything according to the rule of law," he said.

He said the death penalty has been effective in fighting crime, but authorities are cautious about carrying it out.

"The local government, the local court, couldn't decide for the death penalty. They've got to submit this to what could be the Supreme Court for the final decision. There are very strict procedures to go through for the final decisions."

He said the fact it is a New Zealander facing the death penalty is being discussed, but he cannot say more.

Peter Gardner maintains his innocence and claims he was carrying a drug precursor, which is legal in China.

Source: Newshub, July 16, 2016

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