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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…

Philippines: One more bill reimposing death penalty filed in Senate

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte
Trigger-happy Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte
A new measure that seeks to reimpose death penalty on persons involved in the illegal drug trade has been filed in the Senate on Wednesday.

Under Senate Bill No. 1294, Sen. Sherwin "Win" Gatchalian seeks to amend Section 11 of RA 9165 to impose capital punishment on persons convicted of possession, sale, distribution, importation, and manufacture drugs.

These include marijuana (10,000 grams or more), shabu (1,000 grams or more), opium, morphine, heroine, cocaine, cocaine hydrochloride, marijuana resin, marijuana resin oil, ecstasy, and LSD, and other drugs as determined by the Dangerous Drugs Board (200 grams or more).

The measure also seeks to increase fines and penalties imposed for offenses under RA 9165 involving smaller quantities of drugs.

Gatchalian, an ally of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, said that his bill was his commitment to the Duterte administration's intensified campaign against illegal drugs.

The neophyte senator, who was also 3-time mayor of Valenzuela City, said that he and Pres. Duterte were both "mayors at heart" and had "the same perspective" in terms of solutions to eliminate drug trafficking.

"As local chief executives, we have both seen firsthand the kind of damage the illegal drug trade can do to entire communities if drug lords and kingpins are allowed to continue their despicable operations with impunity," Gatchalian said.

"Passage of this law will stop the illegal drug trade in its tracks and make sure that these despicable people will pay the ultimate price for their crimes against the Filipino people," he added.

Aside from Gatchalian, Sen. Panfilo "Ping" Lacson, has previously filed a measure to revive death penalty. Some other senators who have openly expressed being in favor of the reinstatement of death penalty include Senate President Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III, Senate Majority Leader Vicente "Tito" Sotto III, and Senator Emmanuel "Manny" Pacquiao.

Pimentel, however, said that the passage of the death penalty bill will not come easy in the Senate as in the House of Representatives where it expected to face less opposition.

Last December 7, the House Committee on Justice approved the committee report on the reinstatement of the death penalty bill or House Bill No. 1 in a vote of 12-6-1.

The measure is one of the priority bills of President Duterte.

Source: northboundasia.com, January 18, 2017

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