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

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…

Another Girl Reportedly Raped And Burned Alive in India

Indian flag
Another girl was reportedly raped and burned alive in India for the third time in one week.

A 16-year-old girl was raped and burned alive by her 26-year-old attacker. A man reportedly doused her with gasoline and set her on fire after she said she would tell her family that she was raped. The attacker is reportedly a married father of one. He was arrested along with his cousin, who is the one who reportedly told him that the girl was home alone.

The latest attack took place in Madhya Pradesh, in north-central India. It comes just one week after a 16-year-old in eastern Jharkhand state was beaten and burned alive after her family sought justice against her rapists.

The teenager was lured away from her family member’s wedding and taken to a wooded area where she was reportedly gang-raped. Village elders ordered the attackers to do 100 sit-ups and pay a fine of about $750, which enraged the men and resulted in a scuffle. They then broke into the family home, beat the parents and set the girl on fire.

That rape happened after a 17-year-old girl was left to fight for her life in a different attack in Jharkhand. She was burned over 95 percent of her body after she refused to marry her 28-year-old attacker. An 8-year-old girl was gang-raped and brutally murdered in Kashmir in January. 

Despite there being no known connection between the violent incidents, the recent attacks are bringing attention to the issue of extreme sexual assault and lack of women’s rights in India. The attack of the 8-year-old girl led to the approval of the death penalty for rapists in India. However, that has not stopped the violent sexual assaults from stopping.

The number of reported rapes has risen steadily in recent years. It’s also reported that child rapes account for about 40 percent of the cases while many more are believed to go unreported.

Source: Hollywood Unlocked, Jeroslyn Johnson, May 13, 2018

Three teens raped, burned alive in a week in India, shocking country

NEW DELHI, May 14 (Xinhua) -- Three teenage girls were raped and set on fire in a week in India, killing two and leaving a third in critical condition, according to local police.

In the latest attack, a 16-year-old girl died from burns last Thursday after warning the rapist that she would tell her family about the assault. The other two girls were victims of similar attacks a week ago.

The serial brutal sexual assaults shocked the whole country, and have been the most infamous since the case on a New Delhi bus in 2012 that triggered mass protests.

Under such pressure, local police have arrested two suspects, one the cousin of a victim, and the other married with a child.

Earlier this month, India's top court directed all high courts in the country to fast track child sexual abuse cases.

In April, the Indian government approved an ordinance to allow courts to give the death penalty to child rapists. The new law also provides for a speedy investigation into and trial for rape cases, and there will be no provision for anticipatory bail for a person accused of rape or gang rape of a girl under 16 years.

Last Saturday, an Indian man was sentenced to death for the rape and murder of a baby girl. A special court handed out the verdict three weeks after the convicted criminal committed the crime.

This is reportedly one of the quickest trials and fastest police investigations regarding rape cases in India.

Source: Xinhua, May 14, 2018

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