Today the Governor of Oregon, John Kitzhaber, announced a ban on executions during his time in office, declaring that “the death penalty is morally wrong and unjustly administered.” Under his authority, he granted a reprieve to Gary Haugen, who had been scheduled for execution on December 6, 2011. This would have been the first execution in the state in 14 years.
Here are excerpts from coverage from OregonLive.com (“Gov. John Kitzhaber stops executions in Oregon, calls system ‘compromised and inequitable'”, November 22, 2011):
The change of heart comes as a surprise for a governor who twice before — in his first term as governor — allowed executions to go forward. Despite his personal opposition to the death penalty, Kitzhaber said he was upholding the will of the people in allowing the 1996 execution of Douglas Franklin Wright and the 1997 execution of Harry Charles Moore.
“I have regretted those choices ever since,” he wrote in a prepared statement. “Both because of my own deep personal convictions about capital punishment and also because in practice, Oregon has an expensive and unworkable system that fails to meet basic standards of justice.”
Congratulations to our colleagues in Oregon!