I’m glad that Oregon’s death penalty moratorium was upheld, but this is one of the strangest cases I’ve ever heard of.
Oregon death-row inmate Gary Haugen’s legal quest to force his own execution ended Tuesday when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to consider his case.
Without comment, the court denied his petition for writ of certiorari. The court turns down the vast majority of requests it receives each year to review a case.
But two weeks before Haugen’s planned execution date, Kitzhaber issued a reprieve and declared he would not allow any executions as long as he is governor. Kitzhaber criticized capital punishment as “morally wrong” and argued that Oregon’s system “fails to meet basic standards of justice.”
Haugen sued Kitzhaber. The late Senior Judge Timothy Alexander in 2012 agreed with Haugen’s arguments that the inmate had to accept Kitzhaber’s reprieve in order for it to be effective. But on appeal, the Oregon Supreme Court overturned that decision, finding that the governor’s action needed no such acceptance.
Here’s hoping Oregon can end their death penalty on a more permanent basis than who is governor. Still, even though it’s not an ideal way to do it, it would be a good example to Governor Inslee.