FEATURED POST

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

Image
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…

Death penalty repeal bid in conservative Utah fizzles again

Chair used in Utah for firing squad executions
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah lawmaker on Friday abandoned his effort to repeal the death penalty, saying the measure didn't have quite enough support.

With five days remaining before legislators adjourn, Republican Rep. Gage Froerer said it wasn't worth taking up time to debate the emotional subject.

"I was hopeful that Utah would be one of the first red states to take this, because the trend obviously is to do away with the death penalty," he said. "I'm convinced whether its next year or five or 10 years from now the death penalty will go away."

It's the second time in recent years that a GOP-backed effort to end capital punishment in the state has fizzled. Among the biggest hurdles were crime victims who wanted the option to seek capital punishment.

He and House Speaker Greg Hughes, also a Republican, argued that ending the death penalty should be a conservative position because conservatives are "Pro-Life," believe the government is imperfect and should be limited.

Utah came close to repealing the death penalty two years ago but the measure didn't have enough support in the House. This year, Froerer said he believes about 34 members of the 75-member House would have voted for repeal, and a debate may have swayed a few more votes but the tally would have been razor-thin.

Across the U.S., 19 states and the District of Columbia have overturned or banned the death penalty.

Froerer's proposed ban would not have applied to cases where the death penalty has already been sought and the nine men on Utah's death row still would have been facing execution.

Gov. Gary Herbert said last month that he believes society has the right to "eradicate" people who commit egregious crimes, but because appeals from death row inmates can drag on for decades, he said capital punishment can be unfair to the families of victims.

The move to end capital punishment in the conservative state came three years after Utah voted to reinstate the firing squad as a backup method for executions.

Hughes, who voted to reinstate the firing squad, says that if the government is going to execute people, there's no need to "sanitize" a brutal act by relying solely on lethal injections.

Source: The Associated Press, Lindsay Whitehurst and Michelle L. Price, March 2, 2018


⚑ | Report an error, an omission, a typo; suggest a story or a new angle to an existing story; submit a piece, a comment; recommend a resource; contact the webmaster, contact us: deathpenaltynews@gmail.com.


Opposed to Capital Punishment? Help us keep this blog up and running! DONATE!



"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

Most Viewed (Last 7 Days)

New Hampshire: More than 50,000 anti-death penalty signatures delivered to Sununu

Texas: The accused Santa Fe shooter will never get the death penalty. Here’s why.

Malaysian court sentences Australian grandmother to death by hanging

Convicted killer from infamous “Texas 7” prison escape gets execution date

Post Mortem – the execution of Edward Earl Johnson

Ohio: Lawyers seek review of death sentence for 23-year-old Clayton man

Texas man on death row for decapitating 3 kids loses appeal

Amnesty International Once Again Highlights Shocking Justice System in Iran

Maria Exposto: Can she avoid execution?

Ohio man with execution set for July 18 blames killing on ‘homosexual panic’