John Kitzhaber has declared that there will be no more executions in Oregon as long as he remains governor. "It is time for Oregon to consider a different approach,” the Democrat said at a news conference. “I refuse to be a part of this compromised and inequitable system any longer; and I will not allow further executions while I am governor." He said the state's death penalty is expensive, arbitrary, and "fails to meet basic standards of justice," reports the Oregonian.
Kitzhaber, elected to a non-consecutive third term last fall, said he is halting the execution of Gary Hauger, a double murderer who had waived his right to appeals and asked to be executed. "It is a perversion of justice when the single best indicator of who will and will not be executed has nothing to do with the circumstances of a crime or the findings of a jury,” he said. “The only factor that determines in Oregon whether someone sentenced to death will actually be executed is that they volunteer to die." The governor said his decision was rooted in his personal views, noting that he had taken an oath as a physician to "never do harm." (Read more Oregon stories.)