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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…

Indonesia: Absence of interpreters causes problems for foreign defendants

Indonesia: Absence of interpreters causes problems for foreign defendants
The Indonesian justice system often fails to protect the rights of foreign defendants, particularly the right to be accompanied by an interpreter during legal processes, an activist has said.

The absence of interpreters is a serious matter, particularly for defendants accused of committing serious crimes who could face heavy sentences, including the death penalty, Indonesian Judicial Watch Society researcher Anugerah Rizki Akbari said on Thursday.

He gave an example of Filipino suspect Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso, who was on death row in 2015.

“Mary was given an English interpreter during trials when she actually needed a Tagalog interpreter,” Rizki said at the Celebrating Life event held at Plaza Indonesia shopping mall on Thursday.

Indonesia halted the execution of Veloso after the Attorney General’s Office last year received information suggesting she was a victim of human trafficking. Her execution was postponed, pending legal processes in the Philippines.

A similar situation occurred in 2002 when Nonthanam M. Saicon, a Thai national, was sentenced to death for smuggling narcotics, Rizki said.

In a court hearing for a judicial review this year, the Supreme Court decided to reduce Nonthanam’s sentence from the death penalty to life in prison because the Tangerang District Court had failed to provide a Thai interpreter during the trial.

The Supreme Court believed she could not fully understand the indictment against her, so justices reduced her sentence.

Source: Jakarta Post, Callistasia Anggun Wijaya, September 8, 2016

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