FEATURED POST

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

Image
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…

India: Should death penalty be abolished? Study presents a firm argument

Gallows
The study points towards lack of uniform understanding of 'rarest of the rare'

At a time the debate on whether capital punishment should be abolished rages in the country, the study based on interview of 60 former Supreme Court judges brought out a non-uniform and rather contradictory approach by judges while awarding death sentences.

Significantly, these judges, which included eight former CJIs, had adjudicated 208 death penalty cases between them at different points during the period 1975-2016, and confirmed 92 of them. 

The study also goes on to expose the serious flaws in administration of death penalty in India and presents a firm argument for abolishing capital punishment.

The report showed that despite "rarest of rare" doctrine in death penalty as laid down by the SC in the Bachan Singh case, there existed no uniform understanding of the requirements of rarest of rare doctrine. "For a significant number of judges, the 'rarest of the rare' was based on categories or description of offences alone and had little to do with judicial test requiring that the alternative of life imprisonment be 'unquestionably foreclosed', said the report.

As per the 1980 Bachan Singh case, which had laid down the principles which still hold the field, death sentence can only be given in "rarest of rare" cases, offences of extreme depravity, and which shocks the collective conscience of the community. Death is also not given if there is a chance of the convict reforming.

One judge who decided nine death penalty cases in six years at the SC dismissed the entire concept of 'reformation', calling it "astrology". 

Another judge who presided over 13 death penalty cases in five years at SC did not see the point of reformation in serious crimes stating, "people out of habit go and do some small offences - he can be reformed a man who is determined to kill innocent persons, how do you expect to reform him?"

Source: IndiaToday, Harish V Nair, December 10, 2017


⚑ | Report an error, an omission, a typo; suggest a story or a new angle to an existing story; submit a piece, a comment; recommend a resource; contact the webmaster, contact us: deathpenaltynews@gmail.com.


Opposed to Capital Punishment? Help us keep this blog up and running! DONATE!



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

Most Viewed (Last 7 Days)

Convicted killer from infamous “Texas 7” prison escape gets execution date

Nebraska seeks July 10 date for state's 1st execution since 1997

Malaysian court sentences Australian grandmother to death by hanging

Post Mortem – the execution of Edward Earl Johnson

Ohio: Lawyers seek review of death sentence for 23-year-old Clayton man

Texas man on death row for decapitating 3 kids loses appeal

Amnesty International Once Again Highlights Shocking Justice System in Iran

Maria Exposto: Can she avoid execution?

Botswana resumes executions, hangs death row inmate

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