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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.

NY Times on Troy Davis Execution: An Indefensible Punishment

When the Supreme Court reinstituted the death penalty 35 years ago, it did so provisionally. Since then, it has sought to articulate legal standards for states to follow that would ensure the fair administration of capital punishment and avoid the arbitrariness and discrimination that had led it to strike down all state death penalty statutes in 1972.

Justice Ginsburg expresses fondness for Furman's halt to capital punishment

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

This new article from the San Francisco Chronicle, headlined "Justice Ginsburg discusses equality, death penalty," reports on some notable comments by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg concerning the death penalty and the Supreme Court's four-decade effort to provide constitutional regulations for its administration:

Leonard PItts: Blood does not equal justice. And they raised a cheer for death.

Leonard Pitts Jr.

By Leonard Pitts Jr. -- It was a chilling moment, but also a clarifying one in that it validated the grimmest suspicions about at least some of those who support capital punishment. That support, after all, is often framed in terms of high morality, the argument being that only in taking an offender's life can a society truly express its revulsion over certain heinous crimes.

NY Times: The Military and the Death Penalty

The Military and the Death Penalty

Racism in the application of capital punishment has been well documented in the civilian justice system since the Supreme Court reinstated the penalty in 1976. Now comes evidence that racial disparity is even greater in death penalty cases in the military system.

SAFE California Announces Initiative to Replace California Death Penalty

SAFE California - Justice that works for everyone

The SAFE California Campaign announced today a ballot initiative for the 2012 general election to replace California’s death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of parole. The initiative would convert death penalty sentences to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. “The death penalty system in California is broken and there is growing support for this change including from law enforcement,” says Jeanne Woodford, former Warden of San Quentin State Prison.

An Oregonian Asks: Does a Killer Have the Right to Die?

Marilyn Sewell - Unitarian Univeralist Minister, Writer.

By Marilyn Sewell -- Gary Haugen wants to die. Or at least that's what he says. He is a convicted killer who has repeatedly asked to have his appeals waived. Haugan beat to death his girlfriend's mother in 1981, and in 2003, killed a fellow inmate, who ended up with a crushed skull and 84 stab wounds. Haugan was to be executed at the Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem, Oregon, on August 16, but his execution has been postponed until a judge orders a mental competency evaluation.

California: The True Costs of the Death Penalty

California: The True Costs of the Death Penalty

On August 22, 2011, Senator Loni Hancock (D-Oakland), Chair of the Senate Public Safety Committee, convened an informational hearing on the report, "Executing the Will of the Voters? – A Roadmap to Mend or End the California Legislature’s Multi-Billion Dollar Death Penalty Debacle," published in the Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review in June, 2011.

Federal Death Row: The Quiet Revolution In The Death Penalty Debate

The Quiet Revolution In The Death Penalty Debate

There are 58 people on federal death row in Terre Haute, Ind. But for now none appears likely to face the ultimate punishment, at least not on President Obama's watch. The Justice Department is reviewing its lethal injection protocols because of a shortage of a key drug. While that study is underway, authorities have backed away from setting execution dates. Over the last few years, a quiet revolution has overtaken the death penalty debate. Like many trends, this one started in the states and moved to the federal level.

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