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…

Two Taiwanese arrested in Jakarta over drugs: CIB

Meth Bust Indonesia
Two Taiwanese were arrested last month in Jakarta for allegedly trying to smuggle almost 3.8kg of amphetamines into Indonesia, the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) said on Wednesday.

Lai Chen-yu and Huang Ming-wei, both 24, were allegedly caught with amphetamine packets taped to their legs when they landed at Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta International Airport on a flight from Taiwan on March 13, the bureau said.

The 3.776kg haul has an estimated street value of NT$4.6 million (US$150,322), it said.

The Jakarta Police Narcotics Division, together with CIB officials, announced the arrests at a news conference on Wednesday in the Indonesian capital.

Jakarta Police Chief Inspector General Mochamad Iriawan credited cooperation between Indonesian and Taiwanese police for the arrests.

"The Taiwanese police told us earlier about the 2 Taiwanese suspects. Their tip-off helped us track down the suspects' flight," he said.

CIB officials assisting in the investigation said that Lai was a language student at a Kaohsiung university, and that he had signed a confession after being questioned by Jakarta police.

"Lai said he was introduced by friends to a contact person for a drug ring, but he does not know the person's real name or identity," said Cheng Hui-ming, captain of the bureau's Third Investigation Unit.

Cheng said the contact told Lai he could make easy money and that Lai, who was unemployed, agreed to do so, with the promise that he would be paid NT$150,000.

"It is not worth losing your life getting involved in drug smuggling, because Indonesia has severe punishments against such crimes. [The 2 suspects] may face a minimum of 20 years in prison or be given the death penalty," Cheng said.

7 Taiwanese were sentenced to death for drug smuggling in Indonesia last year, he added.

3 of them were found carrying 2kg of amphetamines and were arrested at the airport. The other 4 were convicted for possession of 26kg of amphetamines in an Indonesian city, he added.

Since Indonesian President Joko Widodo assumed office in 2014, he has presided over the execution of 18 people convicted of drug charges, including 15 foreigners, Cheng said.

Jakarta police officials said they are still trying to track down the ringleaders, and evidence point to collusion between Taiwanese syndicates and an Aceh-Jakarta drug network.

The 2 suspects were supposed to take the amphetamines to a restaurant in West Jakarta and hand them over to a man known by the initials of T.A.W., Iriawan said.

Source: Taipei Times, April 8, 2017

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