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…

Trump backs death penalty for drug dealers; is it constitutional?

Trump
President Donald Trump backed the death penalty for drug dealers on Saturday at a Pennsylvania rally, while his administration is reportedly studying the issue.

Trump said the United States got the idea of capital punishment for drug dealers from Chinese President Xi Jinping, the Washington Post reports.

The idea needs discussion, although “I don’t know if this country’s ready for it,” Trump said. CNN also has coverage.

Trump said people who kill just one person get the death penalty, while drug dealers can kill 5,000 people with drugs. “These people are killing our kids and they’re killing our families, and we have to do something,” Trump said.

The Post reported on Friday that Trump’s Domestic Policy Council and the U.S. Justice Department are studying policy changes that would authorize prosecutors to seek the death penalty for drug dealers.

One approach might be to make trafficking large quantities of fentanyl a capital crime because even a small amount of the drug can kill, the Post reported. The administration is also studying tougher prison sentences for large-scale dealers.

Federal law allows the death penalty for drug related murders in four situations, according to the Death Penalty Information Center: for a murder related to drug trafficking; for a drug-related murder of a law enforcement officer; for a drug-related murder involving a drive-by shooting; and for a murder committed by use of a firearm during a drug-trafficking crime.

George Washington University law professor Peter Meyers said he doesn’t agree with the idea of adding more capital crimes for drug dealers, but the idea would “very likely” be constitutional.

Ohio State University law professor Douglas Berman, however, had doubts. “It is not at all clear that death sentences for drug dealers, even for those whose drugs cause multiple deaths, would be constitutional,” he wrote at the Sentencing Law and Policy blog. “It is entirely clear that the issue would be litigated extensively and would have to be definitively decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Source: ABA Journal, Debra Cassens Weiss, March 12, 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)

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

Nebraska seeks July 10 date for state's 1st execution since 1997

Malaysian court sentences Australian grandmother to death by hanging

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

Botswana resumes executions, hangs death row inmate

Maria Exposto: Can she avoid execution?

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