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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…

Vietnam: Court upholds sentences for former leaders of OceanBank

Vietnamese police officer
The High-level People's Court in Hanoi on May 4 upheld the charges and sentences for three former leaders of the Ocean Commercial Joint Stock Bank (OceanBank) ruled at the first-instance trial for their wrongdoings at the bank.

Accordingly, the court upheld the verdict on Ha Van Tham, former Chairman of the Board of Directors of OceanBank, who was sentenced to life imprisonment. The sentence includes 19 years in prison for "deliberately violating State regulations on economic management causing severe consequences", 18 years in prison for "breaching lending regulations of credit institutions", life imprisonment for "property embezzlement", and 20 years in prison for "abusing positions and power to appropriate assets."

The death penalty for Nguyen Xuan Son, former Director General of OceanBank, was also upheld. He received 17 years in prison for "deliberately violating State regulations on economic management causing severe consequences", death punishment for "property embezzlement", and life imprisonment for "abusing positions and power to appropriate assets."

Within 7 days since the appeal trial announced its verdict, Son has the right to submit a plea for clemency to the State President.

Considering Son's sincere confession, his family's compensation for consequences at the Vietnam Oil and Gas Group resulted by his "property embezzlement", and some other factors, the jury proposed the Chief Justice of the Supreme People's Court, the Prosecutor General of the Supreme People's Procuracy and the State President to consider converting Son's punishment from death penalty to life imprisonment as regulated in Point c, Clause 3 and Clause 4 of Article 40 in the 2015 Penal Code.

The jury also took into consideration the unstable financial market when Tham committed irregularities, his sincere confession and other mitigatory factors. It asked authorised agencies to apply mitigatory conditions to reduce Tham's punishment from life imprisonment to fixed-term imprisonment.

The 22-year imprisonment was also kept for former General Director of OceanBank Nguyen Minh Thu. She will be imprisoned for nine years for "abusing positions and power to appropriate assets" and 13 years for "deliberately violating State regulations on economic management causing severe consequences."

Meanwhile, Nguyen Van Hoan, former Deputy General Director of OceanBank, will be sentenced to 20 years in prison (down 2 years from the 1st-instance trial's verdict) for "abusing positions and power to appropriate assets" and "breaching lending regulations of credit institutions."

6 other defendants accused of "deliberately violating State regulations on economic management causing severe consequences" also received reductions in their imprisonment sentences.

During the investigation and at the trial, Nguyen Thi Thu Ba (former director of the retail client division) and Do Dai Khoi Trang (former director of the individual client division) said their wrongdoings had been made under the direction of Deputy General Director Tran Thanh Quang. Therefore, jury asked the investigation police agency of the Ministry of Public Security to launch criminal proceedings against Quang to probe into his involvement.

According to the court's verdict, when working as Chairman of the Board of Directors of OceanBank, Tham and his accomplices committed a series of violations of credit regulations, causing losses for the bank and seriously affecting the State's monetary policy. Their violations resulted in losses of nearly 2 trillion VND (equivalent to 87.7 million USD at present) for OceanBank.

Son was found to coordinate with Tham to charge customers additional fees, triggering a loss of nearly 69 billion VND (3.02 million USD) for the bank and customers. Meanwhile, Nguyen Minh Thu instructed the bank's branches to pay interest rates outside the mobilising deposit contracts, causing losses of 1.576 trillion VND (69 million USD).

Source: Vietnam News Agency, May 5, 2018


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