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May 18, 2014

Detailing the death-penalty abolitionist's strategy and vision for the path to aboilition

This local article from Oregon, headlined "Death penalty opponent sees tough legal fight ahead," provides a helpful accounting of the current game-plan embraced by many hard-core death-penalty abolitionist.  Here are excerpts:

A professor at American University made no secret of what he hoped to accomplish on a four-city visit to Oregon this week. Richard Stack, author of two books critical of the death penalty, wants to move Oregonians closer to abolishing it. Though Oregon is among the 32 states with it, the number that have abolished it grew from 12 to 18 in the past six years.

“We have a strategy of picking off a state at a time,” he said in an interview prior to a talk at Portland State University. “As we add states to the repeal column, when we hit No. 26, we will have a majority that do not have it.”

Then, he said, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund will go to the U.S. Supreme Court to argue that the death penalty violates the federal constitutional guarantee against “cruel and unusual punishment” under the 8th Amendment. “It’s the only way that some states will fall into line” such as Texas, which has executed 515 people since 1982 when current death-penalty laws were in place. Texas leads the states in executions.

Stack, an associate professor of public communication at the university in Washington, D.C., has written “Dead Wrong” and in 2013, “Grave Injustice: Unearthing Wrongful Executions.” He also spoke at events in Monmouth, Eugene and Corvallis.

Gov. John Kitzhaber, who let two executions proceed in 1996 and 1997 during his first term, has vowed there will be no further executions while he is in office. His temporary reprieve in 2011 of Gary Haugen, an inmate who sought to waive his appeals and be executed, was upheld by the Oregon Supreme Court last year.

Kitzhaber’s current term ends Jan. 12, 2015. If he is re-elected Nov. 4, that term will end Jan. 14, 2019. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee took a similar stance on Feb. 11.

Among other potential states for repeal advocates are Colorado, Delaware, Kansas, Montana and New Hampshire.

Oregon voters would have to repeal the death penalty, which since the state assumed responsibility for executions in 1903, voters have repealed twice and reinstated three times. The most recent vote was on a pair of ballot measures in 1984. They were necessitated when the Oregon Supreme Court overturned a 1978 ballot measure on grounds that juries, not trial judges, had to impose the penalty after determining guilt....

Lawmakers heard but failed to advance a proposed repeal measure in their 2013 session. Ron Steiner, who spoke for Oregonians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, said repeal advocates seek to qualify an initiative measure for the 2016 general election ballot.

Three former Oregon chief justices dating back three decades – Edwin Peterson, Wallace Carson and Paul De Muniz – have announced their opposition to the death penalty, as has Frank Thompson, who as superintendent of the Oregon State Penitentiary oversaw the 1996 and 1997 executions. Steiner acknowledges that Oregonians sampled in a straight up-or-down poll say they support the death penalty. But he also said that support softens when they are asked more specific questions about it – including the substitution of a true life-without-release option.

May 18, 2014 at 10:37 AM | Permalink


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The two executions in my life time in Oregon probably doesn't help the compelling nature of the cause to end it. This effort by abolitionists does help such tiny numbers.

Posted by: Joe | May 18, 2014 12:26:50 PM

The killing of humans by the People of The Great State of Oregon needs to be televised on prime time free television to all Oregonians. When they do it in secret and tell the world it was a legal execution of an inmate the public gets a fake view with the fake words about what is going on. If you are going to kill humans Oregon then fess up.

Posted by: Liberty1st | May 18, 2014 1:46:52 PM

The lawyer acts as if a very stupid person, and on purpose. He executes innocent people. The lawyer then uses his own stupidity as an excuse to protect the criminal.

Do not abolish the death penalty. Abolish the stupid lawyer from making policy. This stupidity is not involuntary, but in intentional bad faith, to force the generation of massive, worthless, government make work jobs for this not really stupid, but really evil profession, organized as a criminal cult enterprise.

One could be puzzled by the massive effort the lawyer profession in putting into the abolition of the death penalty. It affects dozens of people. It is puzzling when the criminal law is allowing 20 million serious crimes (not counting drug dealing), and 15,000 extra-judicial executions a year. The economic impact, including drops in real estate value, likely exceeds a $trillion a year, and a miserable existence for 100 million people. Why no churning effort and emotion from the stupid lawyer about that unmitigated disastrous failure and catastrophe?

Why? Simple. No fees from crime victims. $Billions a year in lawyer salaries from death penalty appellate business, for the state side, the defense bar, and the worthless, lazy, stupid lawyer on the bench. Crime dropped 40% from a few mandatory guidelines. What happened? There is now actual lawyer unemployment, and the value of the lawyer degree is dropping fast. Panic is starting. So the most conservative Justice leads the charge against mandatory guidelines.

Pure evil, allowing mass murder and $trillion damage to the nation for a few pieces of silver.

There will be no legal recourse because it will take away money from the cult, now taking a strong stand for its rent.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | May 18, 2014 1:55:56 PM

“But he [Steiner, of Oregonians for Alternatives to the DP] also said that support softens when they are asked more specific questions about it”
- – Support hardens when Americans are asked more specific questions.

E.g.: When asked, “All things considered, do you support or oppose the possibility of prosecutors relying on the death penalty for murder cases in the United States?”

Total: 78%
N. East: 75%
Mid-West: 77%
South: 80%
West: 79%

E.g.: When asked, “Which of these statements comes closest to your own point of view about the death penalty?”

The death penalty is sometimes appropriate and
The death penalty is always appropriate: 86%
The death penalty is never appropriate: 9%

-- www.angusreidglobal.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/2013.04.29_Death_USA.pdf
-- www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451574769e2019b03474960970c

Posted by: Adamakis | May 20, 2014 8:53:43 AM

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