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…

Statement by the EU Spokesperson on the Executions Scheduled in Arkansas

Seven executions by lethal injection, scheduled by the US State of Arkansas for the period between 17 April and 27 April, would break the de-facto moratorium on the death penalty observed by this US State since November 2005. 

Arkansas would also become the first State in the US to conduct seven executions over an 11-day period since the resumption of the use of the death penalty in 1977 in the United States.

The European Union opposes capital punishment, which fails to act as a deterrent to crime, represents an unacceptable denial of human dignity and integrity and cannot be justified under any circumstances. 

More than 140 countries in the world are now abolitionist in law or practice.

Today, the death penalty is illegal in nineteen of the fifty US States and the District of Columbia. 

The number of executions in the US has steadily declined to its lowest level in 2016. 

The executions in Arkansas, if carried out as planned, would be a serious setback in this overall development.

We therefore call on the Governor of Arkansas to commute the sentences of Mr Bruce Earl Ward, Mr Don Williamson Davis, Mr Ledell Lee, Mr Stacey Eugene Johnson, Mr Jack Harold Jones, Mr Marcel W. Williams, Mr Kenneth D. Williams, as well as the sentence of Mr Jason F. McGehee, which has been temporarily stayed, and grant them relief from the death penalty.

Source: Delegation of the European Union to the United States, April 12, 2017

Clergy urge Ark. Gov, AG to halt executions so they don't 'have blood on their hands'

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson
LITTLE ROCK (KATV) — In hopes of catching the governor's attention, Arkansas clergy members delivered a letter calling on him to stop the scheduled executions.

More than 200 clergy members signed this letter opposing the executions, adding they oppose the death penalty and “believe that in spite of their actions, they retain the God-given dignity of any human life which must be respected”.

"We call on Governor Asa Hutchinson and Leslie Rutledge, the attorney general, to do everything that they can to commute these sentences to life without parole so that they will not have blood on their hands,” said Rev. Clint Schnekloth Evangelical Lutheran Church. “So that the world doesn't have to see Arkansas be the state that kills more people than any other state in the history of the united states has in the last decades."

“We urge you Governor Hutchinson not to put a cloud over this great state by moving forward with these death sentences,” said Rev. Dr. Nadine Burton.

"If these are carried out the deed will have been done and those who do it and those who have made the decision will just have to live with it, I don't think there's any cleansing after that,” added Rev. C.B. Baker, St. Luke's Episcopal Church, Hot Springs.

Source: KATV, Marine Glisovic, April 12, 2017

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