Ore. Death Row Inmate Fighting Reprieve
Oregon voters reinstated the death penalty in 1984, and the state has executed two people since then. Both occurred while Kitzhaber served as governor between 1995 and 2003. Both inmates had volunteered for execution, waiving their appeals.
After Kitzhaber was again elected in 2010, he announced he wouldn’t allow any more executions while he was in office, saying he was haunted by the previous two. The governor has said he has no sympathy for Haugen but opposes capital punishment and believes Oregon’s death penalty laws are “compromised and inequitable.”
Haugen’s attorney argued in court on Tuesday that Kitzhaber’s reprieve places an “onerous condition” on the death row inmate because it leaves Haugen in the dark about whether he will ever be granted his wish to be executed, since a different governor could take a different position.
“It could be a day, could be seven years,” Harrison Latto said of the reprieve. “During that indefinite period of time, they’re saying, `sit tight and we’ll tell you at the end of that period whether you’ll be executed or not.”
Latto argued Tuesday that three cases, from 1907, 1918 and 1926, require the subject of a reprieve to agree to it.
“A reprieve is not effective until accepted by the recipient,” Latto said in Marion County Circuit Court. “Mr. Haugen does not accept this reprieve.”