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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: Convicted Filipina drug mule Mary Jane Veloso pleads for help from Duterte

Mary Jane Veloso
Mary Jane Veloso
"I know you have a good heart. You are a parent as well. Even if my family is poor, I will not be involved in illegal drugs. Even if they put me behind bars. I cannot accept these accusations because I am innocent. I am innocent. I am innocent."

These were the words of Mary Jane Veloso as she begged for the assistance of President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday through a recorded voice message from her family on July 31.

The 31-year-old Cabanatuan native is currently on death row in Indonesia on drug trafficking charges. She was scheduled to be executed in April last year but was granted a reprieve following an international outcry to spare her life.

As evidenced by her cracking voice, the sobbing Veloso pleaded for her freedom from the president, who is notorious for his approach in eradicating the illegal drug trade in the country.

"Beloved President of the Philippines. This is Mary Jane," the former domestic helper said in her plea.

"I've been suffering here in Indonesia for too long. I've had to endure a lot in my life and despite being poor, I am a God-fearing person," she said.

The past administration's efforts to bargain for Veloso's freedom have remained futile, and she hopes to be free with Duterte's help.

"You're my only hope, dear President. I know you're the only one who could help me," she said.

"I know a lot of people still believe and support me, but you know it works differently here. I need justice, and I badly need it now. I'm begging you," she further said.

Despite being detained since 2010, Veloso remained hopeful that she would receive pardon for a crime she said she didn't commit.

"Even if many doubt my innocence, God won't forget me. He sees everything I'm doing; He knows I've done no wrong," she said.

The president has yet to release a statement on Veloso's plea.

Source: The Jakarta Post, Sept. 3, 2016

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