A quick Friday story of why you just have to love the state of Oregon.
Meet Governor John Kitzhaber. Governor, everyone. Everyone, the Governor. Now, Kitzhaber is a doctor with serious moral issues with the death penalty, which is still legal in Oregon (it’s been outlawed twice and made legal twice).
When he was governor last time, he saw through the execution of two prisoners – both of whom waived all appeals, and the only two executed since Oregon reinstated the death penalty in 1984 – because he felt it was his obligation as an elected official. Now, though, he has declared a moratorium on executions while he is governor. Not a pardon, or anything, but clemency while he is governor, on the grounds that the system is “compromised and inequitable.”
Now meet Gary Haugen. Not too close, though. Haugen is a convicted double-murderer, and one of a handful of people on Oregon’s death row. He has rejected the governor’s clemency and filed a court appeal demanding he be executed.
Haugen says he wants to be executed in order to protest the criminal justice system. The courts have ruled that Haugen has the right to reject the governor’s clemency and insist on his execution.
So… the governor has appealed it. He’s going to court to appeal Haugen’s appeal to reject his clemency.
I don’t care how you feel about the death penalty – you have to love the whole thing a little bit.