Saturday, June 22, 2013
The Oregon Supreme Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Thursday that a death row inmate cannot reject a reprieve by the governor. Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber [official website] in 2011 issued a temporary reprieve [JURIST report] for death row inmate Gary Haugen, just before his scheduled execution, and called for an end to the state's death penalty [JURIST news archive]. Haugen, who had been convicted of two murders, then tried to seek his own death warrant, arguing that he did not want to live with the uncertainty of the indefinite reprieve. A lower court ruled for Haugen, but the Supreme Court rejected his arguments, finding that the governor's reprieve is valid and that it does not constitute cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment.