In the crosshairs of conscience: John Kitzhaber's death penalty reckoning

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…

Thailand mulls death penalty for corrupt public officials

Corrupt public officials in Thailand could be staring on the death penalty should a proposal by the country's National Reform Steering Assembly (NRSA) for a stiffer sentence is adopted by the government.

Under the proposed sentence, which will be tabled tomorrow, public officials who committed graft and caused more than Baht1 billion (RM1=7.9Baht) of losses to the country could be sentenced to death.

"The NRSA will consider these proposal on Jan 9 (tomorrow)," said NRSA chairperson Thinnapan Nakata, who expected heated debate on the proposal among the 200-members of the assembly, to the local media today.

The proposal was made by NRSA's political reform steering committee chaired by Seree Suwanpanont, as part of NRSA's report on the regulation and scrutiny on government power.

The committee suggested that inspections on public officials should be carried out in the same manner as that used on politicians.

Besides the proposed death sentence on convicted public officials who caused more than Baht1 billion of losses, it also proposed an imprisonment for 5 years for those who caused not more than Baht1 million losses to the state.

For officials who inflicted losses between 1 million baht to 10 million baht to the state, they could face 10 years in jail and 20 years imprisonment if they are guilty of losses between 10 million baht to 100 million baht.

Meanwhile, a life sentence awaits public officials who are convicted of corruption which causes the country to suffer losses amounting between 100 million baht to 1 billion baht, according to the proposal.

Once the proposal is adopted by the NRSA, it will be submitted to the cabinet, the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) and the Constitution Drafting Committee for further deliberations.

The proposal to impose the death penalty on corrupt public officials followed a recent proposal for a similar sentence on corrupt politicians for "selling and buying" political positions.

The proposal by the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) under the draft organic law for political parties received strong opposition from the political parties.

CDC chairperson Meechai Ruchupan has been quoted as saying that the maximum death penalty was aimed at deterring corrupt people from getting involved in politics.

Source: malaysiakini.com, January 8, 2017

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