Late last year, Gov. John Kitzhaber issued a moratorium that put on hold the execution of twice-convicted murderer Gary Haugen. Now the death row inmate is asking a judge to overrule that reprieve. Haugen appeared in a Marion County courtroom Tuesday.
Kitzhaber said the purpose of his moratorium is to give Oregon time to debate the future of capital punishment. Attorneys for the state argued in court the reprieve is an unconditional benefit granted by the governor, that can’t be refused by an inmate.
But Gary Haugen’s attorney Harrison Latto told the judge that Kitzhaber’s directive leaves his client with an unjust level of uncertainty over his fate.
Latto: “During that entire indefinite period of time, Mr. Haugen is basically told by the governor, sit tight, and at the end of that period we’ll tell you whether you’re going to be executed or not."
Judge Timothy Alexander said there was no need for Haugen himself to make any statements at this hearing. The judge didn’t say when he’ll make his decision.
Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network