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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…

Bernie Sanders Honored In Beverly Hills For Opposition to Death Penalty

Bernie Sanders
Bernie Sanders
Sanders received the award for being the first presidential candidate in nearly 30 years to declare his opposition to the death penalty.

BEVERLY HILLS, CA — Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders was honored for his opposition to the death penalty in Beverly Hills on Sunday, one day after expressing optimism about creating "a government which works for all of us."

Sanders received the Abolition Award at the 26th annual Death Penalty Focus Awards Dinner at The Beverly Hilton for being the first presidential candidate in nearly 30 years to forcefully declare his opposition to the death penalty and playing a key role in getting the Democratic Party to adopt abolition of capital punishment as a plank in its platform, organizers said.

"Senator Sanders was instrumental in getting the Democratic Party to adopt abolition of capital punishment as a plank in its official platform last summer," said DPF President Mike Farrell. "I can't think of anyone who deserves the honor more."

With more than 150 thousand supporters, Death Penalty Focus is one of the world's largest organizations solely dedicated to ending capital punishment. For nearly three decades, DPF has worked to raise public awareness, mobilize grassroots activists, build coalitions, and educate policy makers about the death penalty and its alternatives.

His wife Jane presented him with the award. The dinner was organized by Death Penalty Focus, which describes itself as one of the world's largest organizations solely dedicated to the abolition of the death penalty.

Sanders and his wife Jane received the Public Servants of the Year award from the nonprofit nonpartisan public interest group Consumer Watchdog on Saturday night at the Beverly Wilshire.

In his acceptance speech, Sanders said "unless we develop a movement in this country from coast to coast which is prepared to take on oligarchy, which is prepared to take on the Trump administration and the corporate greed that is destroying the middle class ... the outcome for this country will not be good.

But I do believe, having been all over this country, having talked to well over a million people... that we are coming together and that we are going to create a government which works for all of us and not just the 1 percent."

Source PATCH SOCAL, Patch Staff, May 8, 2017

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