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In the crosshairs of conscience: John Kitzhaber's death penalty reckoning

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To cope with his dread, John Kitzhaber opened his leather-bound journal and began to write.
It was a little past 9 on the morning of Nov. 22, 2011. Gary Haugen had dropped his appeals. A Marion County judge had signed the murderer's death warrant, leaving Kitzhaber, a former emergency room doctor, to decide Haugen's fate. The 49-year-old would soon die by lethal injection if the governor didn't intervene.
Kitzhaber was exhausted, having been unable to sleep the night before, but he needed to call the families of Haugen's victims.
"I know my decision will delay the closure they need and deserve," he wrote.
The son of University of Oregon English professors, Kitzhaber began writing each day in his journal in the early 1970s. The practice helped him organize his thoughts and, on that particular morning, gather his courage.
Kitzhaber first dialed the widow of David Polin, an inmate Haugen beat and stabbed to death in 2003 while already serving a life sentence fo…

Vietnam to build 5 more lethal injection venues

Since 2013, 429 death row prisoners have been executed by lethal injection.
Since 2013, 429 death row prisoners have been executed by lethal injection.
Five more venues to facilitate lethal injections will be built in Vietnam in the coming time according to the Ministry of Public Security.

A report from the ministry showed that since the 1st execution carried out using lethal injection in August 2013, 429 prisoners on death row had been executed by this method by July 2016 at 5 facilities in Hanoi, HCM City, Nghe An, Son La, and Dak Lak.

The National Assembly amended the Penal Code in 1999 and 2009 in which the number of death-eligible crimes were reduced from 44 to 22. 

However, the number of death sentences, especially in crimes relating to drugs, murder, and rape, has not declined for many reasons, the report said.

There were 1,134 criminals given death sentences in 5 years between July 1st, 2011 and June 30th, 2016.

According to the ministry, there have been many difficulties in carrying out executions using lethal injection instead of firing squads during the trial period, especially in obtaining lethal drugs and relieving the pressure of holding hundreds of death row inmates in prison.

"But this is certainly a more humane method of execution which causes less pain to the convicted and their family, and relieves pressure on executors, the ministry claimed.

The injection will contain 3 substances -- sodium thiopental, an anesthetic; pancuronium bromide, a muscle relaxant; and potassium chloride to stop the heart.

Source: vietnamnet.vn, February 11, 2017

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