On Tuesday, November 22, Governor John Kitzhaber of Oregon declared a moratorium on all executions in his state. Among other things, he said:
“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.” And: “I am convinced we can find a better solution that keeps society safe, supports the victims of crime and their families and reflects Oregon values. “ (It is definitely worth reading the entire statement.)
And, while you’re at it, take a little time to thank this Governor for his unusually heartfelt action.
This is the first governor-imposed moratorium on executions since Governor George Ryan halted executions in Illinois in the year 2000. There the issue was innocence (13 exonerations at the time compared to 12 executions); here, one of the issues is “volunteers”. Both Oregon’s post-reinstatement executions have been of men who chose to give up their appeals, and Gary Haugen, scheduled for execution on December 6 was actively pursuing his own death. Governor Kitzhaber called the execution of those voluntarily seeking to be killed a “perversion of justice.”