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Pope Declares Death Penalty Inadmissible in All Cases

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ROME — Pope Francis has declared the death penalty inadmissible in all cases because it is “an attack” on the “dignity of the person,” the Vatican announced on Thursday, in a definitive shift in Roman Catholic teaching that could put enormous pressure on lawmakers and politicians around the world.
Francis, who has spoken out against capital punishment before — including in 2015 in an address to Congress — added the change to the Catechism, the collection of beliefs for the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.
The revision says the church would work “with determination” for the abolition of capital punishment worldwide.
“I think this will be a big deal for the future of the death penalty in the world,” said John Thavis, a Vatican expert and author. “People who work with prisoners on death row will be thrilled, and I think this will become a banner social justice issue for the church,” he added.
Sergio D’Elia, the secretary of Hands Off Cain, an association that works to abolish capital puni…

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

Death row phones
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 for a prior murder. Haugen received the death penalty for Polin's killing.

The widow was merely stunned, not hostile, in response to Kitzhaber's unexpected call.

The next call would be more challenging.

In 1981, Haugen raped and killed Mary Archer, a young mother. Kitzhaber dialed Ard Pratt, her ex-husband and the father of their 3 children. The former Multnomah County sheriff's deputy answered the call at his home.

Kitzhaber told him he couldn't go through with the execution. Haugen would live.

In Pratt's mind, the governor was copping out.

Kitzhaber would have to live with the decision for the rest of his life, Pratt warned. "This has torn our family apart. It has ruined our lives," Pratt said. "We want closure."

"Be a man," barked Pratt. "Do what's right."

After he hung up, Kitzhaber remained at his writing desk.

John Kitzhaber, M.D., had dealt with angry, grieving family members before. As a young doctor, he had cried the first time a patient died on his watch. That death - of a young man fatally injured in a motorcycle crash - haunted Kitzhaber.

But the calls that November morning were the most difficult of his life.

With the family calls behind him, he began to cry.

Gary Haugen was 19 when he raped and murdered Mary Archer. He would later receive the death penalty for killing an inmate.

He understood Pratt's warning. Kitzhaber was already living with decisions that preyed on him: allowing the executions of 2 death row inmates during his 1st term. Then Haugen unexpectedly gave up his appeals, putting Kitzhaber's conscience in the crosshairs again.

This month marks more than 2 decades since Oregon's last execution, but the death penalty continues to cast a long shadow in the state. For Kitzhaber, his internal struggle drew on his deep emotional response to his role in putting 2 men to death and brought him to his eventual moral reckoning, which he revealed to Oregonians that November day.

AN UNWANTED REPRIEVE


Arriving at the last minute for his public announcement in Salem, Kitzhaber was so emotionally frayed that he was trembling.

"Oregonians have a fundamental belief in fairness and justice - in swift and certain justice," he told the waiting press. "The death penalty as practiced in Oregon is neither fair nor just; and it is not swift or certain. It is not applied equally to all. It is a perversion of justice that the single best indicator of who will and will not be executed has nothing to do with the circumstances of a crime or the findings of a jury. The only factor that determines whether someone sentenced to death in Oregon is actually executed is that they volunteer.

"It is time for Oregon to consider a different approach. I refuse to be a part of this compromised and inequitable system any longer."

Kitzhaber granted an unwanted reprieve to Haugen. The governor also stated his own desire to have the death penalty replaced by a sentence of life without the possibility of parole - "true life" as it's called. Kitzhaber had the right to commute Haugen's sentence to true life. He, in fact, had the right to commute the sentences of all 37 inmates on Oregonian's death row, but he decided not to.

"The policy of this state on capital punishment is not mine alone to decide," he said.

Like Kitzhaber, Oregonians have long had an ambivalent relationship with the death penalty. Oregon voters decided to abolish capital punishment in 1914, and then again in 1964. Twice reinstating it in subsequent years, clearly their minds had changed, too.

John Kitzhaber was emotionally drained when he announced his decision to impose a moratorium on the death penalty in 2011.

Hours after the conclusion of the press conference, Kitzhaber returned to his writing desk and the solace of his journals. "I am numb," he began.

He had followed his oath as governor, to uphold Oregon's constitution, twice. With Haugen, no longer would he do so. He turned instead to his physician's oath. First, do no harm.

"It is so unfair to them," Kitzhaber wrote of the victim's families. "And yet I believe I made the right decision."

THE GUN AND KNIFE CLUB


Kitzhaber knew what it was to have blood on his hands.

To win a regional science competition during his senior year of high school, Kitzhaber put together a device that kept organs - like the heart and lungs - alive outside the body. Of course, the device required a supply of blood, so Kitzhaber would stop by a nearby slaughterhouse in the mornings before class.

"My blood collection process would make me late for school, and my sort-of blood-spattered arrival during 1st period math class cemented my reputation as a nerd and probably a dangerous one," he said.

Young John had always gravitated instead toward the sciences. After graduating from South Eugene High School and then Dartmouth, he returned to Oregon for medical school.

His internship in emergency medicine took him to the largest trauma hospital in Denver - a place sarcastically referred to as the gun-and-knife club.

Despite it all, he loved practicing medicine. His patients - frightened, confused, in pain - automatically put their trust in him.

"I know what it feels like to have someone come into the ER and you actually save their life," he said. "It's an incredibly deep, spiritual feeling of gratitude and accomplishment. It's humbling."

Simply put, death was failure, an "adverse outcome" as doctors say.

He came to fear the process of informing loved ones that a relative had died on his watch. He referred to it as "walking across the hall."

For Kitzhaber, calling Ard Pratt and Polin's widow felt a lot like walking across the hall. Paradoxically, the message was not death, but life.

A VOLATILE RELATIONSHIP


Gary Haugen
There is another person equally intertwined with Oregonian's ambivalence toward capital punishment - Gary Haugen himself.

He was born with fetal alcohol syndrome in March of 1962 to a mother who stripped at a local bar and a father who suffered from PTSD.

"My dad used to beat me with his fists - my brothers and I - like we were grown men," he said during a telephone interview, one of several. "I'm surprised I ever made the age of 7 let alone 18, 21 or the age I am now."

The situation in Haugen's childhood home got bad enough that he and his siblings were eventually removed by the police and placed into foster care. Haugen was living in a foster home near Mount Tabor when he met Ard Pratt's daughter, Carolyn. "We were, I think, in 10th grade or something, and it was - it was young love," says Haugen. "It was, like, my first love."

But like his own father, Haugen was an alcoholic and physically abusive. Carolyn decided to end their on-again, off-again relationship after one episode during which Haugen hit her in the head with a brick, but not before she got pregnant at 16 with their child.

"He was trying to control me basically, and I'd fight back," Carolyn says of the abuse. "He was just angry all the time."

Although her parents might not have known the extent of the violence, they knew enough to want Haugen away from their daughter. Of Ard, Haugen says, "I can't tell you how many times the guy put me on the ground with a 9 [millimeter handgun] in the back of my head saying, 'If you keep going out with my daughter ...' and I'm like, 'Dude your daughter is the one coming over to my place - wherever I'm at - coming to me. Come on, quit it. And I'm like 'What's so bad with me? I've never done anything to anybody.'"

Ard denies doing this, but added, "I probably should have."

At 17, having walked away from his foster home, Haugen was homeless. He slept on friends' couches and stole things large and small, but his life revolved around the activities that, he felt, provided a release for his anger and pain: getting high, having sex, and fighting. A regular at neighborhood house parties, Haugen would simply start a fight "if I wasn't feeling it," he remembers.

The end result was a house in ruins. "It's not cool, nothing I'm proud of. It's just the way I was," he says. "I guess deep down, as a kid, I just wanted to be loved, and I couldn't find it the way that I felt I wanted it - true love; so I found it through drugs and sex and fighting."

When Carolyn decided to give their daughter up for adoption, Haugen was in the military, having recently enlisted, though he quickly went AWOL. He received just a small photograph of her in the mail, he remembers bitterly. It's the only knowledge Haugen has of her. Carolyn, however, has recently begun to forge a relationship with that daughter. The girl, now grown, has a family of her own, and Haugen's blue eyes.

THE RAPE AND MURDER


On May 21, 1981, a Thursday, the 19-year-old Haugen decided to go over to the house where Carolyn lived with her mother. He was jealous and had been drinking. He wanted to see if he could find evidence Carolyn was dating someone else. He figured the house would be empty.

When he arrived at the small bungalow on Northeast Hoyt, Haugen broke in and started to go through his ex-girlfriend's things, becoming more and more distraught.

He vowed that he would pummel the other guy, should he find anything. Who do I got to smash out now? he remembers thinking.

A white 1970 Ford sedan pulled into the driveway, catching Haugen off-guard. Pratt's mother was driving.

"I'm like I can't have a confrontation with her right now. I just can't," Haugen recalls. "I've been sitting there crying for I don't know how long."

Haugen was familiar with the layout of the house. He was expecting that she would enter it by walking up the steps next to the driveway, so he dashed the other way - into the foyer.

Instead, the front door opened.

Shocked and angry, Pratt's mother, Mary Archer, demanded to know what Haugen was doing in her home.

"I hit her. I hit her with this bat you know. And I think I hit her with pretty much everything in the house," he says.

Haugen also raped and sodomized Archer.

"I just blamed Mary Archer," he said, "for everything that had gone wrong in my life."

NOWHERE TO RUN


Early that evening, Archer's son, James, called the police, having found his mother's bloodied, pummeled corpse. Ard Pratt was the 2nd to arrive on the scene of his ex-wife's murder, although he never actually went inside the house.

That day, driving Archer's stolen car, Haugen briefly thought about heading to his grandparents' place in California.

"I got to the on-ramp and I'm like, really, are - why are you running? You just destroyed a human life and you just destroyed an entire family - any relationship with your daughter. You destroyed your own future, your own history. I mean where you going to run to?" Haugen says.

He ultimately bought some liquor and just drove around Portland.

At 1:24 a.m., Portland police spotted Archer's car on 57th and Mitchell, a few miles south of her home, after Haugen turned in front of a squad car.

He remembers the arresting officer placing a shotgun to the back of his head.

To this day, he wonders why he didn't make a move, forcing the officer's hand.

From the Multnomah County jail, Haugen called Ard Pratt's home and reached his ex-girlfriend.

He apologized to her repeatedly.

"I didn't know what else to do," Haugen says.

Held without bail, Haugen initially pleaded innocent to all the charges against him, but, eventually, he agreed to a guilty plea for murder in exchange for dismissal of the 4 other charges, which included rape and burglary. He would be eligible for parole in his mid-30s after serving 15 years.

Haugen remembers the sentencing judge's advice: "You should still be a young man when you get out of prison. I just hope you make the best of your time while you're in there."

THE 2ND KILLING


Instead he would kill again in prison, and this time get the death penalty.

Although Haugen relished fighting at house parties, he found that, in prison, fighting was a necessity from the moment he entered. In this world, Haugen did what he had to.

"It got to the point where I ended up hooking up with a bunch of old-school cons," he says. "All we did is drive iron: work out."

As the years passed, Haugen took advantage of opportunities in general population at the state penitentiary in Salem. He built a music department with his close friend Jason Van Brumwell.

Van Brumwell received a life sentence for his role in what became known as the "Dari Mart murder." He and some accomplices robbed a Eugene convenience store and beat the workers on duty. One of them died.

Inside the pen, Van Brumwell played the guitar, while Haugen played the drums.

The 2 men enjoyed smoking smuggled pot. Prison officials, however, ultimately found out, and they suspected that another inmate, David "Sleepy" Polin, had been the informant.

About 8 a.m. on Sept. 2, 2003, security cameras captured images of Haugen and Van Brumwell with Polin near the music room. Haugen's T shirt hid some sort of object.

Polin was stabbed 84 times; his skull was also fractured. A camera recorded Haugen and Van Brumwell dragging Polin's lifeless body into the music room. Nearby, an alcove was smeared with blood.

Haugen has long maintained he acted in self-defense, a story that jurors rejected.

"That could've been me on the floor. People don't get it, and people didn't want to hear it," says Haugen. "The only people who know what went down in that room were David and me, period. We were the only two in that room."

Haugen and Van Brumwell were convicted of aggravated murder, which, unlike mere murder, allows for a sentence of death in Oregon. The criteria for aggravated murder includes the murder of a child or a police officer, torturing a victim before killing him or her, using an explosive, or, like Haugen and Van Brumwell, having been previously convicted of murder.

Both were sentenced to death. Both remain on death row.

'IT STILL HAUNTS ME'


Years before Kitzhaber's 1st term, Oregon's death penalty had bedeviled previous governors.

Devoutly religious Mark O. Hatfield personally opposed capital punishment. "Having been governor when we had an execution, I can tell you it still haunts me," he told the Mercury in 2000. "However, when you swear to uphold the constitution of the State of Oregon you swear to uphold all of the laws - not just the laws you agree with."

Hatfield, who served 2 terms as governor, allowed the 1962 execution of LeRoy McGahuey, a 40-year-old logger who had killed his girlfriend and her 2-year-old son.

Mark O. Hatfield allowed an execution as governor but came to regret it and worked to repeal the death penalty in Oregon.

Hatfield felt that he played an important role in the repeal of the death penalty a little over a year later, telling the Mercury, "I had my press secretary have as many press people there to witness it as possible; reporting it in all its gory detail. By making it a broadly based experience for all people - by not having it at midnight - we were able to garner enough support to get it repealed."

Hatfield was the primary sponsor of another attempt, which proved unsuccessful, to repeal capital punishment - which had been reauthorized by Oregon voters.

Even before Hatfield, Gov. Robert Holmes was well-known for commuting death sentences to life in prison in the 1950s, based on his own moral opposition to capital punishment.

However, aware of Holmes' feelings, the parents of a murdered 14-year-old boy filed a civil action in circuit court to prevent the governor from commuting the death sentence of their son's killer. The Oregon Supreme Court sided with Holmes. The court ruled that the Constitution conferred to the governor unlimited power to grant reprieves, pardons, and commutations.

In characteristic fashion, Holmes commuted the killer's sentence to life in prison, but decades later the court's decision would help John Kitzhaber and haunt Gary Haugen.

In regard to capital punishment, Oregon stands out in one way - its sustained ambivalence.

"Most other states long ago settled the question one way or the other," read a 2016 report commissioned by Gov. Kate Brown. "Only Oregon voters spent the twentieth century reversing themselves."

During the early decades of statehood, Oregon allowed local executions by hanging. Only men were supposed to attend these public spectacles. After women watched a double execution from a Portland rooftop in the early 20th century, hangings were brought indoors into the state penitentiary. In 1912, voters overwhelmingly struck down an attempt to repeal capital punishment. Not long after, women were granted suffrage, doubling the number of Oregon voters.

This new electorate abolished capital punishment in 1914 by the thinnest of margins: 157 votes. Just 5 years later, however, voters reversed themselves on the issue, electing to restore capital punishment.

Executions continued into the 1960s. But after Leroy McGahuey was gassed to death by dropping pellets of sodium cyanide into a container of sulfuric acid below his metal chair, Oregon voters again chose to ban the death penalty.

In 1978, reversing themselves once more, Oregonians voted in favor of capital punishment - only to have it declared unconstitutional a few years later. McGahuey's 1962 execution, the one pro-life Gov. Mark O. Hatfield had allowed, was the last before the 1984 vote.

'I'M HURTING'


The collision of John Kitzhaber's moral reckoning and Gary Haugen's desire for execution would not have occurred except for the murder of a 14-year-old girl that sparked so much outrage it solidified Oregon as a death penalty state, once again.

On the afternoon of Sunday, Aug. 10, 1980, Charmel Ulrich, a 14-year-old cheerleader and softball player, and her friend Laurie Leach went for a walk around their Sherwood neighborhood.

"There weren't robberies. There weren't shootings. It was a safe, pleasant place to be," Sue Leach, Laurie's mother, says. "I'm the one who let them go for a walk. They should be able to go for a walk."

On the country road bisecting the quiet neighborhood, a white station wagon pulled up to the girls. Inside were 3 young men, claiming to need directions.

The passengers quickly got out of the car. Laurie, who ran track, sprinted away. One of the abductors tried but failed to catch her. Charmel, however, was forced, kicking and screaming, into the car, which drove off. The man who captured the girl raped her in the car.

Laurie reached a neighbor's home and called her mother. "My daughter just escaped by her own gut instincts. She was a good runner," Sue says. When her husband arrived home, he grabbed a hunting rifle, got in his car and gave chase, along with several other fathers from the neighborhood. By then, the white station wagon was long gone.

Two hours later, the kidnappers allowed Charmel to call her parents' home from a pay phone in front of a grocery store near Lincoln City. Her parents weren't home, so the hysterical girl tried Sue Leach, who answered the call.

In tears and disoriented, the 14-year-old said, "I'm hurting."

Unable to get out the word "raped," Leach instead asked Charmel if she had been abused.

The girl confirmed that she had, before being forced to hang up the phone.

For 11 days, there was no sign of - or word from - Charmel Ulrich.

Keith Ulrich, Charmel's father, leaves her memorial service surrounded by relatives.

She was found dead next to a dirt road in the Coast Range, east of Waldport. One of her kidnappers had agreed to lead the police to Charmel's body.

Her throat had been slit. The driver of the white station wagon, Gary Allen Smith, told police that because the young teen didn't die fast enough, he stabbed her in the back.

A DEATH PENALTY CHAMPION


During that brutally long, 11-day waiting-period, Delight Louise Streich, a young mother of 3, passed the small farm of her neighbors, Keith and Patricia Ulrich.

Dedi, as she was known, barely could stand to imagine what the Ulrichs were going through. Their pain must have surely been unbearable. She was comforted by the fact that Oregon had the death penalty, even though it hadn't been used in 18 years.

She felt sure, though, whoever did this to Charmel Ulrich would be executed.

However, Smith decided to waive his right to a trial by jury the day after the Oregon Supreme Court unanimously ruled in 1981 that capital punishment was unconstitutional. The prosecution had been planning to seek the death penalty for Smith, but the judge had no choice but to give him a life sentence. His accomplices received life sentences, too.

Dedi Streich was appalled by the Supreme Court's ruling. And she became even more so after watching a news segment about the murder of a 3-year-old from Scappoose. Indignant, Streich sat down to write a letter with her then-husband. The letter, meant only to be read by their Sherwood neighbors, championed capital punishment.

Unexpectedly, the letter gained momentum and was ultimately distributed statewide - becoming the basis for Streich's petition to change Oregon's Constitution to allow for capital punishment.

With the help of other death penalty supporters, Streich gathered enough signatures to place 2 measures on the ballot. Measure 6 would make capital punishment exempt from 2 sections of the Oregon Constitution that contained core tenets of human rights.

It passed by nearly 130,000 votes. Measure 7 required either the death penalty, or life without the possibility of parole for especially heinous murders. In her argument in favor of the measure, which appeared in the voters' pamphlet, Streich wrote, "The deterrent value of capital punishment in Oregon should save lives of all our citizens."

It was overwhelmingly approved. Capital punishment was again made legal.

'PLEASE GIVE ME YOUR CODE WORD'


27 years later, when Kitzhaber's attorney Liani Reeves walked into his office to tell him that Gary Haugen was dropping his appeals, the governor was flabbergasted. Really? Kitzhaber thought. Not again.

During Kitzhaber's 2nd year as governor, death row inmate Douglas Wright had dropped his appeals. Wright had committed the so-called "Warm Springs Murders," killing three adults and a 10-year-old boy. He dumped their bodies on a remote corner of the reservation.

Oregon's death chamber
Douglas Wright was executed after he dropped his appeals.

Morally, Kitzhaber was opposed to the death penalty, having voted against Measure 6 and Measure 7. As the date of Wright's 1996 execution grew nearer, Kitzhaber remained conflicted.

"I never expected to be in the position to put somebody to death, given what I'd been doing for the last 20 years," said Kitzhaber, who had just stopped practicing medicine.

The situation with Wright didn't seem entirely real until a few weeks before the execution, when workers came to install two old-fashioned landline phones in Kitzhaber's office. One reached the attorney general; the other provided a direct line to the execution chamber.

Using either phone, Kitzhaber could immediately stop the executioners.

On the night of the execution, Kitzhaber was alone in his office within earshot of protesters outside. The 2 newly installed phones were regularly tested ahead of the scheduled time of midnight.

Kitzhaber answered the phone to the attorney general's office when it was tested at 8 o'clock, 9'o'clock, 10 o'clock, and 11 o'clock, but he had to answer the phone to the execution chamber even more frequently: every half-hour.

"I'd never ever been in that situation or felt those feelings before," Kitzhaber said. "It's pretty easy to support the death penalty in the abstract, but when you're sitting there and you have to make that decision, it takes on a different nature."

At 11:52 p.m., the execution chamber phone rang. It was the head of the Department of Corrections.

"Governor, please give me your code word," he said.

"Tredway," Kitzhaber responded. Luke Tredway was the 10-year-old boy who was Wright's final victim.

"Wright," replied the corrections official, using his own code word. "This is to inform you that we are about to proceed with the execution of Douglas F. Wright by lethal injection."

"I understand," Kitzhaber said.

Because of his medical training, Kitzhaber began to think about what was happening: the gauge of needle being used to transfer the lethal drugs, the progression of how the organs shut down.

After almost half an hour, the last call was made. Kitzhaber was informed that Douglas Wright had just been pronounced dead at 12:16 a.m. on Sept. 6, 1996.

Phones near the execution chamber connected to the governor's office.

THE HARRY MOORE CASE


Among legal scholars who study capital punishment, Douglas Wright is what's known as a volunteer - a death row inmate who allows execution by dropping his or her appeals. Approximately 11 % of inmates executed in the United States are, in fact, volunteers. The data has uncovered an interesting phenomenon: 1 volunteer can beget another.

So it's not surprising that less than 9 months after Wright's execution - Oregon's 1st in nearly 34 years - Kitzhaber's in-house counsel again showed up to inform him that another death row inmate, Harry Moore, was dropping his appeals.

Moore, who, in the course of his life, was in marriages with 2 separate relatives (his nieces), shot and killed his half-sister and her ex-husband.

That spring, the process in Salem repeated itself. There was the installation of the phones, the test calls, the code word, and Kitzhaber's own moral calculus.

"With Moore, I really began to sort of juxtapose my medical training, which really had been to save lives, with what was going on, and the fact that I'd also taken an oath when I became a physician. In a sense, I was violating that oath to uphold another oath," Kitzhaber says.

On May 16, 1997, Moore was put to death. Alone in his office after receiving the final call at 12:23 a.m., Kitzhaber wept.

"I feel like I killed those 2 guys just as much as the person who pushed the plunger," says Kitzhaber. "I made the wrong decision."

'HE'S JUST DYING'


7 years after the executions of Douglas Wright and Harry Moore, Kitzhaber, traveled to one of his favorite places in the world - a remote, roadless section of the Rogue River, where he had time to think. He had just completed his 2nd term as governor.

Accompanied by an East Coast friend, Kitzhaber floated downstream and camped along the bank. It was a familiar scene for Kitzhaber, who had long had an affinity for rivers.

"One of my earliest experiences is my dad took me down to a place called Boulder Flats on the North Umpqua River and that's the first time I actually saw a wild salmon spawning," he remembers. "I've always felt that the life cycle for the salmon was such a beautiful metaphor, not only for the relationship between life and death, but also the relationship that each generation has for the next."

For his companion, however, everything was new.

The friend spotted a big male Chinook - its fins torn, its back blotched with the fungus of decay. "My god what's wrong with that fish," he exclaimed.

"Nothing," Kitzhaber instinctively responded. "He's just dying."

That simple exchange proved to be seminal, forcing the then-former governor to rethink capital punishment.

Former Governor of Oregon John KitzhaberAlthough death was viewed as an adverse outcome in medicine, Kitzhaber realized that there's a difference between dying as a part of the life process and dying prematurely because of a wreck - like the first young patient he had lost after a motorcycle crash or death row inmates injected with lethal drugs.

Kitzhaber never thought that he'd return to politics. "I was pretty bruised," he says. "I'd had eight years of Republicans controlling both houses. I was given the name of Dr. No for vetoing 400 bills - more than all previous governors combined."

But he found himself campaigning again in 2010. At a debate in Salem, he was asked about capital punishment. "You just don't know what it's like," he tried to explain, "to sit there and know you can stop it."

For the first time, he said publicly what he'd long known privately. "I wasn't going to let another one go through."

With Haugen, he kept his promise.

LEAVING OFFICE


Kitzhaber's return to politics was surely not as surprising to him, however, as his forced exit in February of 2015, having only a month earlier sworn to uphold the Constitution as Oregon's governor for an unprecedented fourth time. John Kitzhaber was elected to a fourth term but he resigned after questions arose about conflicts of interest.

By allowing his fiancée, a green energy consultant, to advocate environmental policies as an official adviser in his administration, Kitzhaber violated Oregon law, the state ethics commission found. Kitzhaber maintains that he didn't intend for Cylvia Hayes to benefit financially from the arrangement, but ethics laws don't consider intent, according to the commission.

"What I vigorously dispute, however, is that any of this was done for the purpose of gaining a financial benefit or avoiding a financial detriment, or for the benefit of her clients," Kitzhaber told the commission.

Whereas Kitzhaber freely, if painfully, admitted responsibility for the deaths of Douglas Wright and Harry Moore, he bristled at the perceived conflict of interest involving Hayes.

In announcing his resignation, Kitzhaber, mired in an ethics scandal, listed his accomplishments in office: "I am proud that Oregon has not invoked the death penalty during the last 4 years on my watch."

AN UNEASY LIMBO


For his part, Haugen remains in existential limbo on death row. Younger than many of his fellow condemned inmates, Haugen is now 56. He believes Oregonians need to make a choice. "You either get rid of the death penalty or you start killing people," he says.

The system of capital punishment has not stopped in Oregon, despite Brown's decision to extend the moratorium invoked by Kitzhaber.

"The bottom line is between her (Brown) and Kitzhaber, it's been seven years since they put a hold on the death penalty, on the actual murdering of people, and they're continuing to charge people, try people, and convict people, and everybody's getting paid," Haugen said. "My last attorney was getting paid $287 an hour. That's just for him, for me - let alone all the mitigation specialists and the investigators."

A 2016 Lewis and Clark Law School study found that capital cases cost Oregon $800,000 to $1 million more, on average, than other aggravated murder cases without death as a sentencing option.

35 inmates are on Oregon's death row. 12 have been there since Harry Moore's execution. The longest-serving is Randy Guzek. He's spent more than 30 years on death row. The average stay is over 16 years.

But those inmates are unlikely to be executed. The last 4 inmates to die on death row in Oregon succumbed natural causes. Many more have had their sentence reversed in court or commuted by the governor.

Since 1930, only 21 people have been executed in Oregon. By comparison, of the states that have had capital punishment at some point during that time, the average is 121.

To Haugen, the fact that the industry of capital punishment no longer even produces an execution is evidence of corruption. "It's just a money-making scheme for everybody. I mean everybody's getting paid from the judge, the secretaries, the lawyers, even the paperboy's getting paid when he's delivering the news to the house," Haugen says. "It is fruitful for them to not kill people but get paid."

He can't fathom why all his fellow death row inmates don't drop their own appeals. "Force this thing on these people," he says. "Force them to bring attention to a systemically flawed death penalty statute."

Haugen insists that his crusade for his own execution wasn't about wanting to die. His goal is to have capital punishment abolished. Kitzhaber shares that goal, even though he and Haugen were diametrically opposed in terms of how to advance it.

For Haugen, it was through his own execution. For Kitzhaber, it was stopping Haugen's execution - and all others.

Source: oregonlive.com, The Oregonian, Eben Pindyck, May 5, 2018


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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
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