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Governor Kitzhaber Petitioned To Halt Execution of Gary Haugen

November 8, 2011:    Oregonians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, along with Oregon Capital Resource Center, Oregon ACLU and Amnesty International, have all signed a petition to Governor John Kitzhaber urging him to halt the scheduled Dec. 6th execution of Gary Haugen.

 The petition lays out several reasons that the Governor should act. Many flaws in the Oregon death penalty system suggest that this execution be stopped and a more thorough examination of the death penalty take place.

This is the text of the petition:

Statesman Journal focuses on death penalty and OADP: From hate to healing

Aba Gayle holds a photo of her daughter, Catherine Blount who was murdered

One mother was able to forgive the death-row inmate responsible for killing her daughter, becoming an advocate against the death penalty

For years, Aba Gayle "lusted for revenge" against the California death- row inmate who murdered her 19-year-old daughter.

But everything changed when she mailed the killer a letter, saying she forgave him.

Paying visits to San Quentin prison, Gayle befriended the man she once despised and wanted put to death.

As hate gave way to healing, she turned against the death penalty.

Inquirer Investigation: In life and death cases, costly mistakes

Mistakes by defense  lawyers can deprive the accused of a fair trial.

Willie Cooper, convicted of strangling his brother's girlfriend to death in a Germantown apartment, was awaiting a jury's decision on whether he should be sentenced to death, when his lawyer rose to speak on his behalf. Citing the biblical passage "an eye for an eye," the lawyer told jurors that the ancient edict called for the death penalty only in the killing of a pregnant woman. Cooper had killed a pregnant woman. Inexplicably, his lawyer had forgotten that. The jury voted to impose the death penalty. Cooper's case is among more than 125 capital murder trials in Pennsylvania - 69 in Philadelphia alone - that state and federal appeals courts have reversed or sent back for new hearings because mistakes by defense lawyers deprived the accused of a fair trial.

Listen to Sr. Helen Prejean's Stirring Speech to Portland City Club

Sister Helen Prejean
On Friday, October 21, Sister Helen Prejean told the amazing story of her life as the moving force of the American movement to abolish the death penalty at the City Club of Portland's weekly forum. And what a story it is--from a privileged childhood in New Orleans to working in the St. Thomas housing project to accompanying six men to their deaths at the hands of the state to meeting the Pope and world leaders, writing books and talking to probably millions of ordinary Americans. She speaks with unparalleled moral authority about America's death penalty and why it must be abolished.

New York Times Opinion: The Death Penalty’s De Facto Abolition

New York Times opinion

October 14, 2011 A new Gallup poll reports that support for the death penalty is at its lowest level since 1972. In fact, though, the decline, from a high of 80 percent in 1994 to 61 percent now, masks both Americans ’ambivalence about capital punishment and the country’s de facto abolition of the penalty in most places.

When Gallup gave people a choice a year ago between sentencing a murderer to death or life without parole, an option in each of the 34 states that have the death penalty, only 49 percent chose capital punishment.

Oregonian Op Ed: The weight of 'playing God': In capital punishment cases, jurors are punished

Oregonian Opinion Editorial

Jurors are unrecognized victims of the death penalty. I have been debriefing jurors after difficult, traumatic trials since 1999. I've learned a lot about how jurors are affected by their service. Many of these trials involved charges of homicide or child abuse, including five death penalty cases. One factor that causes juror trauma is the type of evidence, which is often graphic and gruesome, involving malice and brutality. This is outside the jurors' life experiences, and it exposes them to a difficult, even horrifying, view of the world.

Newsweek: View of An Executioner: "I Committed Murder"

I committed murder

For the anonymous executioners of death row, the ‘high’ of pulling the lever is often followed by a lifetime of doubt.Only a fellow executioner like 59-year-old Jerry Givens would know how crushingly hard it will continue to be for those who put Troy Davis to death last week even as he continued to insist on his innocence.

OADP Statement on Haugen Case: Oregonians for Alternatives Oppose State-Sanctioned Executions

Oregonians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (OADP)

Oregonians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (OADP) will oppose the execution of Gary Haugen and all executions in Oregon. While this case has had front page headlines for months now, our organization maintains that the death penalty “system” is too broken to fix. There is a lot of finger pointing going on in the media accounts. The current news is not the fault of Mr. Haugen, the Judge, the lawyers, the mental health professionals, opponents to the death penalty, the Governor (who has the power to stop an execution), the Department of Corrections, the news media or anyone else. The problem is a “system” that is a failed public policy and provides no real benefit to the citizens of Oregon.

Gary Haugen Update: I'm ready,' Oregon death row inmate Gary Haugen tells judge; may face execution Dec. 6

This time, Gary Haugen made no long speeches about how the legal system is broken and its money misspent. No talk about dying with dignity or any detailed explanation about why the 49-year-old twice-convicted killer would rather end his life than spend his days on Oregon's death row. Instead, Haugen, his graying hair pulled back in a ponytail, said he would keep his comments to a minimum. "I can't go on," he said in a low, calm voice. "This is going to be one time where I just don't do a lot of talking, because I'm ready, your honor. Because I'm ready."

Death Penalty: Victims of a runaway train

The death penalty in America is like a runaway freight train

Imagine a 200-car freight train like you may have encountered at a railroad crossing -- how slow to get moving, seemingly endless in length, on a course that can rarely be changed, nearly impossible to stop, incredibly dangerous if you get in its way. That's what the death penalty in America is like.

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