OR Capital Punishment Foes Seek Execution Delay, Citing 3-Drug Plan


Opponents of the death penalty are urging Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber to delay the planned execution of convicted murderer Gary Haugen, saying the state’s method of lethal injection leaves too much room for mistake, The Oregonian reports. Oregon’s reliance on three drugs instead of one, its poorly detailed procedures, and a lack of medically trained staff all create the possibility that Haugen could be conscious and in “excruciating pain” as he suffocates and his heart shuts down, the groups contend.

The groups ask Kitzhaber to declare a moratorium on any executions until completion of a comprehensive review of the effectiveness of the death penalty system in Oregon. Kitzhaber, a physician who has said in the past that he’s personally opposed to the death penalty, has allowed previous executions to proceed. He was governor when death row inmates Douglas Franklin Wright and Harry Charles Moore waived their appeals and were executed in 1996 and 1997. The petition — by the Oregon Capital Resource Center, Oregonians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, the ACLU of Oregon and Amnesty International USA — came after Washington state switched to a one-drug protocol in 2010. Ohio switched to a single drug format after a botched execution in 2009 when the team couldn’t find a suitable vein to inject inmate Romell Brown for more than two hours. They called off the effort and Brown remains on death row.

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