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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…

Florida: Man convicted of killing 2 people in 2008 resentenced to 2 death sentences

Florida's death chamber
A 63-year-old man convicted of killing 2 people with a hammer in 2008 is going back on Florida's death row.

Citing inadequate legal representation, the Florida Supreme Court last year ordered Raymond Bright re-sentenced and the chance to avoid the death penalty for the murders of Derrick King and Randall Brown.

Prosecutors said the victims were killed what during a drug-related dispute.

In part, the Supreme Court described Bright's "nightmarish childhood," which included significant abuse, and said such issues were not adequately raised during the original sentencing to try to spare Bright from the death penalty.

"The jury never learned who Raymond Bright is," the Supreme Court opinion said. "Therefore, competent, substantial evidence supports the findings of the post-conviction court that Bright was prejudiced by the deficient performance of his penalty phase counsel."

But after a sentencing hearing in the Duval County Courthouse Friday morning, Judge Russell Healey re-sentenced Brown to two death sentences. 

He will be returned to the Florida Department of Corrections.

Source: news4jax.com, December 8, 2017


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