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…

Europe urges Trinidad and Tobago to abolish death penalty

Trinidad and Tobago flag
Europe on Tuesday urged Trinidad and Tobago to follow other Commonwealth Caribbean countries and do away with a mandatory death penalty.

"We don't think that's the right answer. That's not for us to tell you what to do. It's your country and you can run it as you wish. And we can well understand the public pressures there may be, the political pressures there may be, people calling in, in the face of crime, for the death penalty to be carried out," the United Kingdom Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago, Tim Stew, told a news conference.

Flanked by his counterparts from France, Spain, the Kingdom of the Netherlands and Germany, the British diplomat said "we don't think it is effective.

"There is too much evidence to show that a mandatory death penalty is not an effective deterrent to crime," he added.

The news conference was held ahead of Wednesday's recognition of Europe Day and Stew said "in fact, we think it's worse than that.

"There is evidence which shows that when a jury knows that they are facing somebody and have to decide if they are not guilty on a murder case, when they know that the only penalty available to a judge is the death penalty, they are less inclined to find that person guilty and more inclined to let that person walk out of that court, even though they may have done what they are alleged to have done.

"Whereas, if juries know there are range of options available to a judge, from heavy sentencing to lighter sentencing, depending on the terms and circumstances, then they are more inclined to see that justice is done," he added.

The European Union Delegation to Trinidad and Tobago said it does not believe the death penalty is an effective deterrent to crime and expressed concerns about the country's high crime rate, gang and drug activity and the significant number of guns on the nation's streets.

However, it insisted that the death penalty was not "the right answer".

The diplomats shared their views on a number of issues, including human rights, trade with Trinidad and Tobago, climate change, culture and its role in the world.

Europe Day is the name of an annual observance by the European Union (EU), being held today. It is also known as Schuman Day, in commemoration of the 1950 Schuman Declaration.

It is the EU's "equivalent of a national day" and its observance is strongly associated with the display of the EU's equivalent of a national flag, the "European flag or emblem".

Source: jamaicaobserver.com, May 10, 2018

T&T's death penalty not a deterrent - EU leaders

The increasing gang and drug-related murders in T&T is very worrisome for heads of the European Union delegation to T&T.

However, they strongly believe that the death penalty cannot put a damper to the crisis.

The issue of guns on the streets was also raised by the delegation during a media conference held at the EU's office, Sagicor Financial Centre, Queen's Park West, Port-of-Spain on Tuesday.

The conference was to bring awareness to Europe Day which was celebrated yesterday.

Ambassador to the United Kingdom Tim Stew said that there was enough evidence in the courts which suggests that juries are less inclined to find accused people guilty of murder when they know for a fact that the only penalty available to a judge is the death penalty.

"They are more inclined to let that person walk out of that court, event hough they may have done what they were alleged to have done," Stew said.

He added that if there are a range of options available to a judge, they jury may be more inclined to see that justice is done by declaring a guilty verdict.

Stew further explained that the death penalty is not an effective death penalty especially to those into drugs- and gang-related crimes and criminal activities as the individuals themselves have already made up their minds that they are going to lose their lives by the hands of another drug dealer.

"So, it's not a deterrent and the Government needs to think through these issues equally. The same goes for crimes of passion.

"We don't think that's the right answer but it's not for us to tell you what to do. It's your country and you can run it as you wish," Stew said.

Head of the delegation, Ambassador Aad Biesebroek said there is need for dialogue, which they - the European Union leaders - are willing to sit and discuss.

Also present were Ambassador to Spain Javier Carbajosa; Ambassador to France Serge Lavroff, Kingdom of the Netherlands Ambassador Jules Bijl and Counsellor Deputy Head of Mission Germany Andreas Haack.

Source: guardian.co.tt, May 11, 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)

New Hampshire: More than 50,000 anti-death penalty signatures delivered to Sununu

Texas: The accused Santa Fe shooter will never get the death penalty. Here’s why.

Malaysian court sentences Australian grandmother to death by hanging

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

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

Maria Exposto: Can she avoid execution?

Ohio man with execution set for July 18 blames killing on ‘homosexual panic’