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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…

Veloso's lawyer on CA decision: Ironic, disappointing

Mary Jane Veloso
MANILA, Philippines — A lawyer of convicted drug mule Mary Jane Veloso on Friday said that a Philippine court baring its citizen's story on illegal recruitment to be heard in court is "disappointing and ironic."

"Her testimony is being prevented by our own courts, the Court of Appeals in particular, upon the behest of the accused illegal recruiters' defense team, which is both disappointing and ironic," lawyer Edre Olalia of the National Union of People's Lawyers said in a text message to reporters.

In a decision dated Dec. 13, 2017, the CA reversed the decision of a Nueva Ecija court that allowed the Philippine Consulate in Indonesia to take Veloso's testimony through deposition.

Judge Anarica Castillo-Reyes, who handles the illegal recruitment and illegal human trafficking case against Veloso's recruiters Maria Cristina Sergio and Julius Lacanilao, will also be present to observe the deposition.

"After all, what we just ask is for her to tell her story in full and with guarantees of due process intact." - Edre Olalia

Veloso's case is still up for a motion for reconsideration. Should the CA junk the motion, her lawyers can elevate the case to the Supreme Court.

Olalia said that Veloso's lawyers are "in coordination with the public prosecutors and indirectly with the [Office of the Solicitor General] so our plea for a reconsideration will be given a fair shake."

Sergio and Lacanilao are represented by the Public Attorney's Office, while lawyer Edre Olalia of the National Union of People's Lawyers represents Veloso. He is also a private prosecutor in the case against the alleged illegal recruiters.

Olalia lamented: "After all, what we just ask is for her to tell her story in full and with guarantees of due process intact and in accordance with the weight and appreciation of evidence, sans dilatory or complicated technicalities."

The local court of Nueva Ecija in February last year allowed the taking of Veloso's testimony through deposition. But the recruiters, through PAO, raised to the CA that the move is violative of their rights as accused.

The CA's former eleventh division in its December decision sided with the petitioners, granting their petition for certiorari and prohibition.

The court held: "[T]he circumstances in this case call for the application of Rule 119, which categorically states that the conditional examination of a prosecution witness shall be made before the court where the case is pending in light of the constitutionally enshrined right of the petitioners to meet the witnesses face to face or the right of confrontation and cross-examination."

"Verily, the first and fundamental duty of the Court is to apply the law," the court stressed.

Veloso, a mother of two, claims that she was duped into carrying a suitcase lined with heroin into Indonesia. She was sentenced to death by the government of Indonesia.

Following an appeal from President Benigno Aquino III and surrender of her alleged recruiters in the Philippines, she was granted a last-minute reprieve before her scheduled execution on April 29, 2015.

She has since been detained at Wirongunan Penitentiary in Indonesia.

Source: philstar.com, January 5, 2018


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