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State Supreme Court overturns death sentence against Robert Langley for fourth time

State Supreme Court overturns death sentence against Robert Langley

The Oregon Supreme Court for the fourth time has overturned a death sentence for Robert Paul Langley Jr., finding that a judge should not have forced the convicted murderer to represent himself before jurors determining his punishment. The decision marks the latest setback for prosecutors who have pressed to execute Langley -- and persuaded four juries to hand down Oregon's harshest sentence -- over more than two decades.

US Judge bars import of drug used in death penalty

Judge barred U.S. authorities from importing an anesthesia drug used in carrying out death sentences

A U.S. judge on Tuesday barred U.S. authorities from importing an anesthesia drug used in carrying out death sentences because the Food and Drug Administration never approved the drug for use in the United States, and he ordered supplies be confiscated. A group of death row inmates had sued the FDA last year over improperly allowing shipments into the country of sodium thiopental, a sedative used as the first of three drugs administered in carrying out executions.

AP Interview: Texas DA seeks death penalty review

Texas Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins

AP -- The Texas prosecutor leading an aggressive push to free wrongly imprisoned inmates, in a county where more than two dozen wrongful convictions have been overturned, is calling for a review of the capital punishment system in the nation's busiest death penalty state. Craig Watkins' tenure as Dallas County's top prosecutor has earned him a national reputation. Now, as Watkins publicly acknowledges that his great-grandfather was executed in Texas almost 80 years ago, he called on state lawmakers to review death penalty procedures to ensure the punishment is fairly administered.

LA Time OpEd: California's death penalty law: It simply does not work

Ron Briggs says the Briggs death penalty law in California simply does not work

We believed the Briggs initiative — the death penalty measure we wrote in 1977 — would bring greater justice. We were wrong.

In 1977, my dad, former state Sen. John Briggs, my brother-in-law and I got together to discuss California's death penalty. We agreed it was ineffective and decided a ballot initiative was needed to expand the number of murder categories eligible for capital punishment. We felt such changes would give prosecutors better tools for meting out just punishments, and that a broadened statute would serve as a warning to all California evildoers that the state would deliver swift and final justice.

California chief justice urges reevaluating death penalty

December 24, 2011 Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, who heads the state's judicial branch and its highest court, said in an interview that the death penalty is no longer effective in California and suggested she would welcome a public debate on its merits and costs.

OADP Oregonian Column: Kitzhaber's invitation to listen as well as talk

Kitzhaber's invitation to listen as well as talk about the death penalty

Gov. Kitzhaber has invited Oregonians into thoughtful conversation. The hiatus in executions gives us time to talk and listen to each other. Disapproving reaction focuses on two concerns. One is gubernatorial powers in our democracy. The other is the death penalty. Support for the death penalty seems to be based primarily (and circularly) on the fact that Oregonians support it, and beliefs that it provides just deserts for the heinous crimes of remorseless killers, it keeps us safe , and it comforts victims' families. These positions reveal legitimate desires to prohibit murder, uphold democracy, foster public safety, and vindicate the suffering of survivors of those lost to violence.

Oregon Legislator: Debating capital punishment: We can be tough on crime without the death penalty

Last week Gov. John Kitzhaber made a controversial decision to issue a reprieve for condemned inmate Gary Haugen and charged the Legislature with taking up capital punishment in 2013. As a staunch supporter of Measure 11 and other tough-on-crime legislation, I surprised many in my Republican caucus by supporting the governor's decision.

Sister Helen Prejean: No better place than Oregon

 Sister Helen Prejean

Last week, Oregon’s governor, John Kitzhaber, took a stance for life. He refused to sign the death warrant for Gary Haugin and then he went further. He said no to any more executions on his watch. He’d allowed two executions to proceed in his earlier terms as governor, but as he said:

Oregonian OpEd: Capital punishment in Oregon: Kitzhaber should commute all death sentences

Sunday, Nov. 27  Oregon's governor, John Kitzhaber, stopped the impending execution of two-time convicted killer Gary Haugen, granting a "temporary reprieve ... for the duration of my term in office." Haugen's death sentence had been the subject of extensive review and the prisoner himself had argued that he should die. The governor should either have allowed execution to proceed or commuted the sentence. He did neither, treating the prisoner, the victims' families, and the dozens of court and prison officials in this case with cruel irresponsibility.

Oregonian Editorial Board: A reprieve for Gary Haugen, a challenge to Oregonians

Kitzhaber issued a temporary reprieve of the execution of Gary Haugen

Listening to death row inmate Gary Haugen and Gov. John Kitzhaber expound on Oregon's death penalty, it sounds almost as though all this is between them, the two-time murderer ready to accept his punishment, and the three-term governor who can't bring himself to allow another execution under his watch. There is someone else involved here: You. What do you think? Is Oregon's death penalty system truly "broken," "inequitable" and "compromised," as Kitzhaber insisted Tuesday while announcing his decision to issue a temporary reprieve and block the scheduled Dec. 6 execution of Haugen?

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