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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…

Virginia death row inmate Ivan Teleguz seeks stay of execution

Ivan Teleguz
Ivan Teleguz
RICHMOND—A Virginia death row inmate convicted of hiring a man to kill his ex-girlfriend has asked a federal appeals court to put his April execution on hold so the U.S. Supreme Court can review his appeal.

Attorneys for Ivan Teleguz filed a motion Tuesday asking the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond to stay his scheduled execution so the nation’s highest court can hear arguments that he was denied the right to effective counsel.

Teleguz, who is from Ukraine, was sentenced to death in 2006 for hiring a man to kill Stephanie Sipe, the mother of his child. She was stabbed to death in her Harrisonburg apartment, and prosecutors said Teleguz wanted get out of paying child support.

He has maintained his innocence, and two key prosecution witnesses have recanted since his conviction.

An appeals court in 2012 ordered a hearing on his innocence claim, but a judge refused to overturn his conviction after one of the witnesses who recanted refused to testify and the other didn’t show up.

In October, the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal from Teleguz, who argued that his 2006 trial attorneys were inadequate because they introduced testimony that Teleguz was involved in another killing that he says never happened.

His attorneys say the new appeal makes a different claim of ineffective counsel that’s never been heard by any court. It must be reviewed under a Supreme Court ruling issued in 2012 that requires federal courts to address claims such as Teleguz’s, they say.

Attorney General Mark Herring’s office said it will respond in a court filing.

Teleguz’s execution is scheduled for April 25.

Source: Associated Press, March 8, 2017

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