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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…

Death sentences awarded by Indian courts dip in 2017, 20% fewer than last year

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The Indian courts gave 109 death sentences last year, but the country did not execute anyone, according to Amnesty International.

The number of death sentences imposed last year were 27 fewer than the 136 in 2016, the human rights organisation said in its report, Death Sentences and Executions 2017, released here on Thursday.

Last year, 51 death penalties were imposed for murder alone, down from 87 in 2016, the London-based organisation said quoting the National Law University's Centre on Death Penalty.

For murder charges involving sex offences, 43 death sentences were handed out. 

Two death sentences were imposed for drug-related offences.

The report said it also "monitors daily developments on the use of death penalty" and that the number of death sentences it collected were lower than that of the National Law University.

Overall, there were 371 people on death row in India.

The report said that it had recorded commutations of death penalty or pardons in India, but it did not give a number.

The last time India had carried out an execution was in 2015 when Yakub Memon was hanged after being found guilty in the 1993 Mumbai terrorist bombings that killed 257 people.

Source: Financial Express, April 13, 2018


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