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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…

U.S.: Black Lives Matter releases platform calling for an end to the death penalty

Black Lives Matter
More than 50 organizations linked to the Black Lives Matter movement came together to draft its 1st policy platform, released Monday. 

"We seek radical transformation, not reactionary reform," Michaela Brown, a spokeswoman for Baltimore Bloc, an organization that worked on the platform, said. "As the 2016 election continues, this platform provides us with a way to intervene with an agenda that resists state and corporate power, an opportunity to implement policies that truly value the safety and humanity of black lives, and an overall means to hold elected leaders accountable." 

The platform demands reparations for slavery, investment in education and jobs, an end to the death penalty, the "demilitarization" of police departments, and decriminalization of prostitution and drug-related offenses.

Source: theweek.com, August 2, 2016

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