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

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…

The Australians who were sentenced to death by foreign courts

Van Tuong Nguyen
AUSTRALIAN authorities are assisting a Sydney grandmother held in Malaysian custody after being cleared in Malaysia’s High Court of drug trafficking charges as local prosecutors consider mounting an appeal.

Maria Elvira Pinto Exposto,54, was found not guilty of attempting to import more than a kilogram of crystal methamphetamine into Kuala Lumpur.

Under Malaysian law the prosecution can appeal an acquittal, meaning Exposto now faces an anxious two-week wait to see if she will be finally freed or face further court hearings.

If she had been sentenced to death, she would have joined a grim but growing list of Australians hanged in Malaysia and other Asian nations.

Australians Kevin Barlow and Brian Chambers were executed in Malaysia on July 7, 1986, convicted of heroin trafficking.

They had 179 grams of heroin hidden in a suitcase and intended flying to Sydney from Kuala Lumpur.

Seven years later Queenslander Michael McAuliffe was hanged, on June 19, 1993, after being arrested at Penang airport with 141.89 grams of heroin inside condoms packed in a money belt around his waist.

On December 2, 2005 Melbourne man Van Tuong Nguyen was hanged in Singapore’s Changi prison after being convicted of trafficking 396.2 grams of heroin. In Singapore, the death penalty is mandatory for drug smuggling.

In April 2015 Australian men Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan were executed by Indonesian firing squads after all appeals against their death penalties were exhausted. They had been convicted of attempting to traffic 8.2kg of heroin from Bali to Australia.


Perth man Dominic Bird escaped the death penalty in Malaysia in 2014 after he was acquitted of trying to supply an undercover police officer with 167 grams of methamphetamine in March 2012.

He was acquitted after the prosecution’s case fell apart amid allegations of corruption against the prosecution’s police witness. Set free, he was just about to board a flight home to Australia when he was rearrested at the plane’s boarding gate.

Later the Court of Appeal threw out the prosecution’s bid to overturn the acquittal and Bird was set free for a second time.

He was represented by the same legal team as Exposto.

Melbourne woman Emma Louise L’Aiguille also escaped the death penalty in Malaysia, when in November 2012, prosecutors dropped drug trafficking charges against her after her lawyers, the same representing Exposto, argued there was no evidence she had any knowledge the drugs — 1kg of methamphetamine — were in the car she was driving in Kuala Lumpur.

Source: Daily Telegraph, Cindy Wockner, December 28, 2017

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but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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