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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…

Death Penalty Sought for Tech Officer Murder, But Daniels Might Be Incompetent to Stand Trial

Hollis Alvin Daniels
A court record filed on Tuesday indicated that prosecutors are now seeking the death penalty against Hollis Alvin Daniels, 19, for the shooting death of a police officer on the campus of Texas Tech.

Daniels was arrested on October 9, less than 2 hours after officer Floyd East, Jr. was shot and killed inside the Texas Tech police station.

The newest document filed by Daniels' defense attorney, Dennis Reeves, said, "a) Mr. Daniels has been charged with the offense of Capital Murder. The State is seeking the death penalty. b) This Court has determined that ... Mr. Daniels is indigent. c) This Court has appointed the Regional Public Defender for Capital Cases to represent Mr. Daniels."

Reeves is with the public defender's office.

A gag order has been issued in the case, meaning members of the news media cannot speak to police or other officials about the case.

Some of the court records are publicly available in the Lubbock County online court system. Some are not.

In the newest document filed by Reeves, it was revealed that Daniels might not be found competent to stand trial.

"Prior to his indictment, previously appointed Counsel for Mr. Daniels filed a Motion Suggesting Incompetence and Request For Examination," the document said.

"The appointed examiner has not yet issued a report finding that Mr. Daniels is presently incompetent, but that report is forthcoming. Informal conversations with the examiner indicate that he is likely to find Mr. Daniels incompetent."

The original motion related to incompetence is not publicly available at this time.

Reeves' motion indicates that Daniels might need court-ordered mental health treatment to restore him to competence. A finding of incompetence to stand trial is not the same as insanity.

Daniels' father has been named as his legal guardian.

Mostly, what Reeves' motion does is request that documents and evidence be made available to the defense without the defense having to reveal its legal strategy.

One more document has been filed since Reeves' motion according to the court docket. But that document is not available to be viewed in the online court system.

In a separate criminal case, Daniels was charge possession of a stolen firearm. Court records indicate that the stolen gun was indeed the one used to murder officer East.

Daniels remained in the Lubbock County Detention Center Friday in lieu of a $5 million bond.

Source: everythinglubbock.com, December 2, 2017


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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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