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…

Today's Birthday, January 12: Australian drug smuggler Andrew Chan (1984-2015)

Andrew Chan
Today's Birthday, January 12: Australian drug smuggler Andrew Chan (1984-2015).

The man known as the Bali Nine drug smuggling group's "godfather", Andrew Chan, wanted nothing more than to walk out of Kerobokan prison a free man, fellow convicted drug smuggler Schapelle Corby recently revealed.

Corby - who forged a close friendship with Chan during her nine years in jail - was released and returned to Australia in May 2017, more than two years after Chan and fellow Australian ringleader Myuran Sukumaran were executed by an Indonesian firing squad.

Their execution went ahead despite pleas for clemency and caused a political spat between the nations, with the Abbott government recalling its Indonesian ambassador.

Born the youngest child to Chinese migrants Ken and Helen Chan in Sydney in 1984, Chan grew up in the inner-western suburb of Enfield.

He attended Homebush Boys High School and gained a reputation as a class clown and bully.

After dropping out of school in Year 10, the teenager got a catering job but, lacking any discernible career ambition, started using drugs.

Despite going to the same high school, Chan only crossed paths with Sukumaran, three years his senior, at a mutual friend's house in 2002.

Indonesian prosecutors alleged that Chan successfully smuggled drugs into Australia in October 2004 by enlisting a number of teenagers, many participants of the Bali Nine drug ring.

After another operation was aborted in December, Chan returned to Bali with Sukumaran and seven others the following April to carry out a heroin trade.

But following a tip-off by Australian Federal Police, the group was arrested and charged with "conspiring to import more than eight kilograms of heroin from Bali into Australia".

Chan maintained his innocence throughout the trial but he and Sukumaran were both found guilty and sentenced to death in 2006, while all other members escaped with lengthy prison sentences.

On the inside, the death-row inmates were both described as model prisoners with Chan converting to Christianity and running church services.

Between 2010 and 2015, Chan and Sukumaran had several appeals, judicial reviews and clemency pleas rejected.

Chan married his fiancee Feby Herewila two days before the Bali Nine ringleaders were executed, along with six other drug offenders, on April 29, 2015.

All refused to be blindfolded and sang hymns, including Amazing Grace, before being shot in a jungle clearing on the island of Nusakambangan.

Source: AAP (via Mail Online), January 12, 2018 (local time)

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