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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…

Punjab should have death penalty for drug traders, says minister Navjot Sidhu

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"On the lines of neighbouring Haryana, where it has been decided to have capital punishment for rape of girls aged 12 or below, Punjab should make such a law for drug traders."

Claiming that the Congress government in Punjab has reduced the problem of drug abuse, local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu on Monday suggested that the next step should be to have the provision for capital punishment to traders of narcotics.

Speaking at a rally at Zira, 35 km from district headquarters Ferozepur, he said, "Such anti-social elements should have more fear of law; hence, on the lines of neighbouring Haryana, where it has been decided to have capital punishment for rape of girls aged 12 or below, Punjab should make such a law for drug traders." Haryana's cabinet has okayed such a change in section 376 of the Indian Penal Code, but it needs further ratification.

"I will propose death penalty to drug traders in the next cabinet meeting," Sidhu said.

On other issues, such as encroachment of government land, Sidhu said he had asked chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh to set up a "reinforcement wing" to tackle the menace. "To keep a check on illegal construction and loss of revenue, satellite mapping will prove very effective," he added, citing that, "in Ludhiana alone, earlier property tax was collected from 90,000 properties; but after satellite mapping the number increased to more than 3 lakh".

Meanwhile, in a political developement, Sidhu proposed the name of Inderjit Singh Zira, a former minister and the father of local MLA Kulbir Zira, as party nominee from Khadoor Sahib seat in the Lok Sabha poll due next year. On poll promises, he said, "The Congress government is trying hard within 10 months of its formation to give jobs to the youth, while, on the contrary, the Akalis and their goons snatched businesses, be it contracts, transport or liquor."

In response to a demand by locals to restart the sugar mill, Sidhu said he would take up the matter. He also gave a grant of Rs 6.1 crore for various areas of Zira assembly constituency.

Source: Hindustan Times, March 6, 2018


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but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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