Oregon death penalty reprieve argued

July 25, 2012 at 2:21 PM
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SALEM, Ore., July 25 (UPI) -- An Oregon judge is asking for more input before deciding whether death row inmate Gary Haugen must accept a reprieve from the governor.

Gov. John Kitzhaber has ordered a moratorium in executions as long as he's governor but Haugen, who has waived the rest of his appeals, is pushing for his execution to go forward, The (Portland) Oregonian reported.

Haugen, 50, was convicted of killing his girlfriend's mother three decades ago. His lawyer, Harrison Latto, argued the Oregon Supreme Court need not accept the governor's action, noting an 1833 U.S. Supreme Court decision suggesting pardons and similar acts must be accepted by the inmate for them to take effect.

Assistant Attorney General Tim Sylwester admitted Tuesday to Senior Judge Timothy Alexander he could find no case law indicating the Oregon Supreme Court had adopted a different standard, The Oregonian reported. But, he argued, the governor's power to grant reprieves is unlimited and not subject to court jurisdiction.

Alexander took the matter under advisement and asked for further briefs on the issues.

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