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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…

New Hampshire Governor Vows Veto of Death Penalty Repeal

Gov. Chris Sununu
Governor Chris Sununu says he will veto a death penalty repeal bill if it reaches his desk.

The Republican released a statement on Wednesday saying that a top priority for his administration has been strengthening laws for crime victims and their families, and that “the most heinous crimes warrant the death penalty.”

A bipartisan group of lawmakers are backing a measure, SB 593, which would do away with capital punishment in New Hampshire. 

The bill has 13 co-sponsors in the Senate, enough votes to pass the chamber where similar bills have stalled in recent years.

Michael Addison, who was convicted in 2008 for the murder of Manchester Police Officer Michael Briggs, is the only person currently on death row. 

SB 593 would not impact his case.

Read Sununu's full statement:

“I stand with crime victims, members of the law enforcement community, and advocates for justice in opposing a repeal of the death penalty. A top priority of my administration has been to strengthen laws for crime victims and their families. Repealing the death penalty sends us in exactly the wrong direction, and I will veto the bill if it reaches my desk. There is no doubt that the most heinous crimes warrant the death penalty.”

Source: New Hampshire Public Radio, February 28, 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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