Oregon Supreme Court Supports Governor's Death Penalty Delay

The Oregon Supreme Court says Gov. John Kitzhaber can delay the lethal injection of a death-row inmate who wants to waive his appeals and speed his execution. The state's highest court ruled Thursday that Kitzhaber did not overstep his power when he granted a reprieve delaying the death sentence of Gary Haugen, who was convicted of two murders. Kitzhaber opposes the death penalty and intervened weeks before Haugen was scheduled to be executed in 2011. The governor said he refused to allow an execution under a state death-penalty system he views as broken. He hoped to spark a statewide vote on capital punishment, but the Legislature has not referred the question to voters. Haugen challenged Kitzhaber's clemency, saying the reprieve was invalid because Haugen refused to accept it.

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