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June 20, 2013

Oregon Supreme Court rejects effort by death row inmate to reject execution reprieve from Governor

As reported in this new local article, headlined "Supreme Court upholds reprieve by Gov. Kitzhaber of death row inmate Gary Haugen," the top court in Oregon issues a lengthy opinion in a case that ought to be of interest to those who follow the death penalty and those who care about modern clemency procedure and powers. Here are the ruling's basics via the press report:

The Oregon Supreme Court announced today it has upheld Gov. John Kitzhaber’s temporary reprieve of Gary Haugen’s execution. Chief Justice Thomas Balmer, writing for the court, concluded that the reprieve was “valid and effective,” and turned aside Haugen’s argument that he had a legal right to reject the reprieve.

“I am pleased that the Oregon Supreme Court affirmed my constitutional authority to issue a reprieve,” Kitzhaber said in a statement.  “I renew my call for a reevaluation of our current system that embraces capital punishment, which has devolved into an unworkable system that fails to meet the basic standards of justice.  I am still convinced that we can find a better solution that holds offenders accountable and keeps society safe, supports the victims of crime and their families and reflects Oregon values.”

The reprieve will last during Kitzhaber’s current tenure as governor. That will end on Jan. 12, 2015, or if Kitzhaber seeks and wins another term in 2014, until Jan. 14, 2019.

Haugen, 51, is a twice-convicted murderer who was the first who sought to die since Kitzhaber allowed two other executions to proceed during his first term in 1996 and 1997. All three waived appeals.

The high court overturned a ruling in Marion County Circuit Court, where a visiting judge upheld Haugen’s side in the first round last summer.

The full 40-page unanimous ruling in Haugen v. Kitzhaber is available at this link.

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June 20, 2013 at 01:37 PM | Permalink

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Comments

Clemency was touched upon here (by Mark Osler in particular):

http://www.acslaw.org/news/video/the-era-of-mass-incarceration

Posted by: Joe | Jun 20, 2013 1:51:08 PM

What about Burdick v. United States?

Posted by: NickS | Jun 20, 2013 3:18:03 PM

|| “I renew my call for a reevaluation of our current system that embraces capital punishment, which has devolved
into an unworkable system that fails to meet the basic standards of justice."
-- Oregon Gov. Kitzhaber ||

Did it not meet the "basic standards of justice" in this defendant's case? He had no objection to its result until the Governor thwarted it.

Recall:
o "Haugen has been on death row .. for the 2003 fatal beating and stabbing of inmate David Polin."
o "He had been serving [LWOP] for the 1981 beating death of his ex-girlfriend's mother, Mary Archer, of Portland."

o "most Oregonians favor the death penalty .. The poll found that 57% favor the death penalty for some crimes; 39% oppose it."
-- 2/1/12, www.deathpenaltyinfo.org

Posted by: Adamakis | Jun 20, 2013 4:23:21 PM

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