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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…

Israel: Bill approving death penalty for terrorists passes preliminary Knesset vote

The Knesset
Despite refusal of haredi MKs to join coalition for vote, bill making it easier for courts to condemn terrorists to death passes first vote.

A bill which would make it easier for both civilian and military courts to sentence terrorists found guilty of murder to death passed its first reading in the Knesset Wednesday, winning a narrow plurality of 52 to 49 in the 120 member legislature.

The proposal, which was introduced by Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu party, was backed by most of the 66-member governing coalition.

The United Torah Judaism party, however, abstained from the vote, withholding its six votes after the haredi faction failed to reach an agreement with Liberman regarding another piece of legislation proposed by the Shas party.

Earlier on Wednesday, Liberman stormed out of a meeting with UTJ leaders after the haredi faction demanded that the Defense Minister back the "Supermarket Law", which would enable the Interior Minister to nullify local bylaws permitting the opening of businesses on the Sabbath.

Liberman has expressed his opposition to the law, calling it ‘religious coercion’.

After the Defense Minister failed to agree to drop his opposition to the proposal, haredi MKs warned they would be unable to support his proposal to reduce the requirements for imposing the death penalty on terrorists, saying that they would have to consult the party’s spiritual leaders for guidance on the issue.

If it passes its second and third readings, the law would allow army courts to sentence terrorists found guilty of murder to death with only a simple majority. Under current law, the death penalty may only be imposed by unanimous decision.

The law would also permit state criminal courts to impose the death penalty under the same conditions.

Israel has not used the death penalty since the 1962 execution of SS officer Adolf Eichmann.

Source: israelnationalnews.com, January 3, 2018



Minister Steinitz comes out against death penalty for terrorists


Energy Ministry Minister Yuval Steinitz on Wednesday came out against Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman's bill proposal to impose the death penalty on terrorists.

"It's the worst thing Israel can do to itself," he said during a government meeting on the topic. "The damage to the State of Israel could be massive. We're playing into the hands of our worst enemies."

Source: ynetnews.com, January 3, 2018


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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