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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…

Lawmaker pushes to abolish death penalty in Ohio

Ohio's death chamber
COLUMBUS (WCMH) — For the fourth time in a row, State Rep. Nickie Antonio, from Cuyahoga County, has introduced legislation at the Statehouse that would abolish the death penalty.

Her three previous attempts have been relatively fruitless in starting a debate about the issue at the Statehouse.

This time, Antonio is hoping for a deeper dialog with members of the House Criminal Justice Committee, to whom the bill has been assigned.

As was the case last year, at least one Republican has already agreed to be a co-sponsor on the bill, but unlike abortion, capital punishment is not necessarily a partisan issue.

House Bill 389 was given its first hearing this week, and Antonio hopes it will receive at least two more; one for supporters of the measure, and one for opponents.

Antonio says now is the perfect time for both sides to take another look at capital punishment, how it has been handled in recent years and the trends being seen nationally, given recent events connected to the topic.

It will be up to State Rep. Nathan Manning, from Lorain County, near Cleveland, as to whether the bill will receive any more hearings, or if he plans to let it languish in committee for the next year.

Source: WLWT5, December 15, 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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