Oregon Governor Halts Death Penalty

Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber has suspended the death penalty, saying he will allow no executions as long as he is in office. His decision came after the state scheduled for Dec. 6 the execution of Gary Haugen, a prisoner who actually waived his appeals in a sign of protest against the justice system. "I simply cannot participate once again in something that I believe to be morally wrong," said Kitzhaber, who allowed two executions in his previous term as governor, one in 1996 and one in 1997. "The reality is that, in Oregon, our death sentence is essentially an extremely expensive life prison term, far more expensive than the terms of others who are sentenced to life in prison without parole, rather than to death row." Relatives of Haugen’s victim reacted harshly go Kitzhaber’s decision, with one family member telling the Associated Press the governor is a “coward.”