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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…

Kenya: Landmark death penalty judgement must lead to full abolition of cruel punishment

Kenyan courtroom
Commenting after the Kenyan Supreme Court declared mandatory death sentencing unconstitutional, Oluwatosin Popoola, Amnesty International’s Adviser on the Death Penalty, said:

“This landmark judgment is a significant step towards complete abolition of the ultimate cruel and inhumane form of punishment.

“It’s now time for the Kenyan authorities to take the required legal steps to abolish the death penalty fully and join the 105 countries that have completely consigned the punishment to history.”

The judgement was handed down following an application by two men who have been on death row for the last 14 years. 

It in effect means judges now have discretion and will no longer automatically sentence to death people convicted of murder or armed robbery – the only two crimes that still attract the death penalty in Kenya.

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases and under any circumstances, regardless of the nature of the crime, the characteristics of the offender, or the method used by the state to carry out the execution

Source: Amnesty International, December 14, 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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In the crosshairs of conscience: John Kitzhaber's death penalty reckoning