Oregon Can Not Kill Someone, If It Wants

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.

Comments

  1. 1

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Haugen is one of those criminals whom you really don’t care what happens to them. He went to prison in 1981 for raping and bludgeoning his girlfriend’s mother to death, and years later got the death penalty for his involvement in the murder of another inmate. He has tried to waive his appeals and has gone to court to compel the state to execute him. One is almost tempted to hope he contracts a fatal case of rabies from a rat bite on his dick. But the question is whether Oregon should execute anyone, ever; or, more precisely, whether the state’s voters have a right (and the power) to decide to enact laws that allow the state to kill people in some circumstances.

    I’ve never had to struggle with this one too hard. If I could go back in time, and found myself in a World War 1 trench with Corporal Hitler, knowing what I know now, I would shoot him. In the back. Without a warrant or court order. I just would, that’s all.

    Of course, making a statement like that is a long way from endorsing the death penalty as applied in Oregon. Or Texas. Or South Carolina in 1944. As always, it depends on the facts of the case.

    Gary Haugen isn’t worth the trouble. Some killers are worth the trouble because of the nature of their crimes. For example, the guys who dragged James Byrd behind their pickup truck. I have issues with the prolificacy of Texas’ judicial death machine, but not with that particular instance of its use.