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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: Death sentences a warning for drug traffickers in West Jakarta

Indonesian courtroom (file photo)
Indonesian President Joko Widodo's tough on drugs stance and his resolve to push ahead with the execution of convicted drug smugglers is filtering down to the courts.

The West Jakarta District Court is leading the charge.

This week alone it sentenced 5 foreigners to death after the prosecutors demanded the highest penalty.

They include Li Fuzhang and Li Hezhang from China, who were convicted of smuggling 20 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine into Indonesia.

Toor Eng Tart, Ooi Swee Liew and Phang Hoon Ching from Malaysia received the same sentence this week for smuggling 51 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine and 140,000 ecstasy pills.

Reda Mantovani was appointed to the chief prosecutor position in West Jakarta in 2015.

He said he demanded the death sentence for 25 defendants found guilty of drug crimes during his 1st year in the job.

"When I got this job, I saw the number of drug related crimes kept increasing in West Jakarta," Mr Mantovani said.

"The criminal law enables me to demand the highest penalty, which is death, and that is what I am doing."

In the past 12 months the West Jakarta District Court has dealt with 1,320 drug cases.

"Do not mess around with drugs in West Jakarta, you will get the death sentence," Mr Mantovani said.

The last round of executions of convicted drug smugglers took place in July this year, when 4 prisoners faced the firing squad at Nusakambangan prison.

10 prisoners - who had been due to be executed - where spared at the last minute, although the Indonesian Government never provided an explanation for why.

According to the Jakarta based Institute of Criminal Justice Reform, 17 prisoners had already been sentenced to death up until June this year.

"I am sure there are some people who do not like the fact that the death sentence has been handed down, especially human rights groups," Mr Mantovani said.

"But I am merely implementing the law and the way I see it there are more people that support me than are against me."

37 defendants were sentenced to death in 2015.

Source: abc.net.au, September 30, 2016

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