SALEM, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon death row inmate and the state's governor are at the center of an unusual legal battle — the governor has granted the twice-convicted murderer a reprieve, even though the inmate did not ask for it and does not want it.
Gov. John Kitzhaber blocked Gary Haugen's scheduled execution last fall, saying no executions would be carried out on his watch.
Haugen has sought to reject the governor's clemency. He's voluntarily waived legal appeals that could delay his execution for years and has fought to speed his punishment in protest of a criminal justice system that he says is broken.
Their dispute was heard in court on Tuesday.
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." More
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