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Eugene anti-death penalty believers praise governor over no dead man walking

A view from the film "Dead Man Walking."
Photo courtesy Wikipedia

EUGENE, Ore. -- There will be no "Dead Man Walking" from either Eugene or other areas of Oregon now that the governor has changed the moratorium on the death penalty in time for Thanksgiving.

Those people in the Eugene area who praise the governor are not in the majority, state local and state media because "most states kill the bad guys," explains Tom, a Eugene local who is for the death penalty.

In turn, a student named Maria -- who used to live in Spain -- said it's "nuts to kill those who kill," thinking one horror should not lead to another horror such as putting people on death row.

Eugene votes "maybe" on current death row policy

Thanks to the convictions of a governor who’s also a doctor, 37 people on Oregon’s death row will not become “a dead man walking;” after Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber imposed a “moratorium on the death penalty” for the remainder of his term.

Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber announced on local television here in the state capital and across the state Nov. 22 that he’s “imposed a moratorium on the death penalty” that is now in effect and will continue for the remainder of his four-year term that began in 2010. Under Oregon law, the governor’s length of office is four years, and limited to two consecutive terms. Kitzhaber served two terms previously prior to be re-elected in 2010. In turn, Kitzhaber told the Oregon citizenry -- during live TV broadcasts from his office here in Salem on Nov. 22 – “that he was morally opposed to capital punishment, and has long regretted allowing two men to be executed in the 1990s,” reported Eugene’s Register Guard newspaper Nov. 23, while noting that “Kitzhaber’s decision gives a temporary reprieve to a twice-convicted murderer” now just before Thanksgiving.

Oregon now the fifth state to half executions since 2007

Kitzhaber, a doctor as well as governor of Oregon, is receiving mixed views from the citizenry due, in part, to the fact that one “twice-convicted murderer – who was scheduled to die by lethal injection in two weeks – joins 36 others on Oregon’s death row” with this temporary moratorium on the death penalty, reported Eugene’s Register-Guard newspaper that also makes notes that “Kitzhaber is a former emergency room doctor who still retains an active physician license in Oregon.

“I do not believe those executions made us safer. Certainly I don’t believe they made us nobler as a society. And I simply cannot participate once again in something I believe to be morally wrong,” said Kitzhaber during a live TV broadcast from the state capital here in Salem.

“With his voice shaking,” the Register Guard newspaper also reported how “the governor said he has repeatedly questioned and revisited his decisions to allow convicted murderers Douglas Wright and Harry Moore to be executed in 1996 and 1997.”

Dead man walking is common in Texas with Rick Perry as governor

Capital punishment – also called the death penalty or simply execution – is the sentence of death upon a person by the state as a punishment for an offence, explained characters in the 1995 film “Dead Man Walking.” The film, directed by Tim Robbins, tells the story of Sister Helen Prejean (Played by Susan Sarandon), who establishes a special bond with Matthew Poncelet (played by Sean Penn), a prisoner on death row in Louisiana.

In turn, Sarandon won the Academy Award for best actress for her role, while Penn received an Oscar nomination for best actor. Also, its main track, “Dead Man Walking,” earned Bruce Springsteen best song honors.

A law text book notes how capital punishment has been practiced by most societies; while 96 countries have abolished it and 58 nations, including the U.S., still practice the act of killing someone for their crimes. In 2010, Amnesty International pushed a non-binding resolution through the United Nations General Assembly calling for a “global moratorium on executions.”

However, there’s a governor down in Texas who takes issue with this U.N. and Oregon governor decision to stop capital punishment.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry says “he doesn't lose sleep over the possibility that his state has executed an innocent man,” reported CBS News Sept. 7 after one of the early Republican Presidential debates in California. In turn, debate moderator Brian Williams noted to Perry that his state "has executed 234 death row inmates, more than any other governor in modern times."

As Williams tried to continue asking his question, the crowd broke into applause, prompting Williams to pause. The moderator then continued: "Have you struggled to sleep at night with the idea that any one of those might have been innocent?" Perry responded, "no, sir."

"I've never struggled with that at all," he said. "The state of Texas has a very thoughtful, a very clear process in place of which -- when someone commits the most heinous of crimes against our citizens, they get a fair hearing, they go through an appellate process, they go up to the Supreme Court of the United States, if that's required."

Continued Perry in this CBS News report: "But in the state of Texas, if you come into our state and you kill one of our children, you kill a police officer, you're involved with another crime and you kill one of our citizens, you will face the ultimate justice in the state of Texas, and that is, you will be executed."

After Perry answered, Williams followed up by noting the audience reaction to his question, asking Perry: "What do you make of that dynamic that just happened here, the mention of the execution of 234 people drew applause?"

"I think Americans understand justice," responded the longtime governor. "I think Americans are clearly, in the vast majority of -- of cases, supportive of capital punishment."

"When you have committed heinous crimes against our citizens -- and it's a state-by-state issue, but in the state of Texas, our citizens have made that decision, and they made it clear, and they don't want you to commit those crimes against our citizens," he added during this CBS TV News report. "And if you do, you will face the ultimate justice."


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