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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…

Court schedules deposition of Mary Jane Veloso in Indonesia - lawyers

Mary Jane Veloso
Mary Jane Veloso
The Nueva Ecija trial court hearing the trafficking case against the couple who recruited Mary Jane Veloso has scheduled the deposition of the Filipina in death row in Indonesia, her lawyers said Saturday.

The National Union of People's Lawyers, which is helping prosecute Maria Cristina Sergio and Julius Lacanilao and also in efforts to convince Indonesia to take Veloso off death row, said Judge Anaarica Castillo-Reyes of Sto. Domingo Regional Trial Court Branch 88, who took over the trial after the inhibition of the original judge, had scheduled the taking of Mary Jane's testimony on April 27 at the Yogyakarta prison where she is detained.

"During the scheduled deposition, Mary Jane will answer the exhaustive written questions prepared by her Filipino private lawyers which will be directly propounded to her by a Philippine consul with the facilitation and cooperation of Indonesian authorities," the NUPL said.

The human rights lawyers' group noted that "the deposition will be taken at almost the exact date 2 years ago when Mary Jane was magnanimously granted by the Indonesian government a last-minute standing reprieve from the death penalty after furious and intense efforts and overwhelming clamor to save her life."

Veloso was intercepted as she arrived in Jakarta in April 2010 with 2.6 kilos of heroin in her luggage and subsequently sentenced to death later that year. Spared by a moratorium on executions by fomer President Susilo Bambang Yudhiyono, she was scheduled for execution in January 2015 after the election of President Joko Widodo but earned the last-minute reprieve, in part due to the fierce lobby of Indonesian workers' rights advocates.

Veloso maintains her innocence saying she was duped by Sergio and Lacanilao and a member of a foreign human trafficking ring into carrying the luggage containing the drugs.

The NUPL said Castillo-Reyes' order allowing Veloso "to freely tell her whole story and cruel ordeal which will be officially considered by the ... trial court" was "another legal vindication" for the worker and her family.

"Being the victim, Mary Jane is the most credible and competent witness that could prove not only the guilt of the accused in these Philippine cases but, eventually and more importantly, the full and unabbreviated circumstances that led to her conviction in Indonesia," the group said.

Source: interaksyon.com, February 27, 2017

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