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Posts tagged: capital punishment

Washington Executions Put On Hold

Washington will not execute anyone on death row while Jay Inslee is governor. Inslee, pictured, announced a moratorium today on capital punishment, saying he will issue a reprieve if any execution warrant comes to his desk. He’s not issuing a blanket commutation of sentences, and anyone who gets a reprieve from him could still be executed by a successor. He expects the moratorium to spark a conversation about the death penalty in Washington. “I am not convinced equal justice is being served,” Inslee said at a press conference to announce that he has changed his mind on capital punishment, a penalty he previously supported for some cases. “During my term, we will not be executing people”/Jim Camden, SR. More here. (AP photo)

Question: Should Idaho Gov. Butch Otter call for a moratorium on death penalty, too?

Oregon Guv Won’t Allow Execution

Gov. John Kitzhaber (pictured) announced today he will not allow the execution of Gary Haugen — or any death row inmateto take place while he is in office. The death penalty is morally wrong and unjustly administered, Kitzhaber said. “In my mind it is a perversion of justice,” he said at an emotional news conference in Salem. The governor cited his constitutional authority to grant a temporary reprieve for Haugen, in effect canceling the planned Dec. 6 lethal injection of the twice-convicted murderer. Haugen waived his legal appeals and has been preparing for the execution, which would have been Oregon's first in 14 years/Helen Jung, Oregonian. More here. (AP photo)


Henry: Not Missing Paul Ezra Rhoades

For weeks, photos of Idaho's new execution chamber, along with sordid details of how lethal injection is carried out, have circulated on the Web. I've learned quite a bit about how last-minute appeals are filed, how the first of three injections renders the condemned unconscious so they don't feel the next two fatal shots that stop their breathing and heartbeat. The whole process is very clinical, very sterile and, providing nothing goes awry, painless for the condemned. The whole ordeal has also made me revisit my stance on capital punishment. I was raised in my faith that although God is the ultimate judge and will have the final ruling, society has a duty to carry out punishments for the good of greater society. As I've gotten older and explored my faith further, I realize there are basic tenets of human decency that one must adhere to. When you commit a crime contrary to the core of those tenets, you forfeit your place in society/Henry Johnston, Moscow-Pullman Daily News. More here.

Question: Did Idaho's execution of Paul Ezra Rhoades cause you to revisit your stance on capital punishment?

Idaho Sets 1st Execution Since 1994

On the day a judge gave the order for serial killer Paul Ezra Rhoades (pictured) to die, the men who brought him to justice found little satisfaction in his looming execution. Instead, the investigators and prosecutors who worked Rhoades’ cases emphasized their limited roles nearly a quarter-century ago in tracking, catching and convicting him. “The case has come to its full destiny now,” Bonneville County Sheriff Paul Wilde said. “That’s the order of the court, not the order of the law-enforcement guys.” Bonneville County Judge Jon Shindurling issued death warrants Wednesday for Rhoades, 54, for murdering Stacy Baldwin and Susan Michelbacher in 1987. Rhoades also received two life sentences for the second-degree murder of Idaho Falls convenience store clerk Nolan Haddon around the same time/Sven Berg, Idaho Falls Post Register. More here.

Question: Does it make sense to execute a murderer who has been in prison for 24 years? And/or: Does it make sense to take 24 years to execute triple-murderer Paul Ezra Rhoades?

HBO Poll: Yes To Capital Punishment

  • Weekend Poll: 193 of 266 respondents (72.6%) said they are in favor of capital punishment (on the morning Ronnie Lee Gardner was executed by firing squad in Utah). 63 of 266 respondents (23.7%) oppose capital punishment. 10 of 266 (3.8%) were undecided.
  • Today’s Poll: Which administration had a better response to a disaster affecting Gulf Coast States — George W. Bush (Hurricane Katrina) or Barack Obama (BP oil spill)?

MT: Invoke Death Penalty Wisely

In Latah County, 25-year-old Silas B. Parks faces two counts of first-degree murder and one count of first-degree arson in the death of his 28-year-old wife Sarah Parks and her unborn daughter. Sarah was suffocated or strangled before her duplex was set afire. Silas has a history of domestic violence. Now he faces the death penalty until Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson concludes otherwise, and Thompson has several weeks to decide. Idaho has a lousy record on capital punishment. The last thing it needs is another death penalty case. Thirty-nine men and women have been sentenced to die. Only one, Keith Eugene Wells, was executed in 1994, and that was because Wells dropped his appeals/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Should Idaho prosecutors abandon attempts to seek the death penalty, unless the case involves particularly violent circumstances like the Joseph Duncan one?

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D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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