"Death penalty: A narrow line for Kitzhaber," is the editorial published by the Albany Democrat-Herald.
Gov. John Kitzhaber is walking an awfully narrow line on the death penalty — but at least he’s taking a leadership role in calling for its abolition in Oregon.
But with potentially bruising fights looming in the Legislature on PERS reform, the state’s corrections policy and related budget issues, how much of his political capital is he willing to spend on the issue? And is he willing to spend more of that capital in the 2014 elections?
A legislative committee last week considered House Joint Resolution 1, a proposed constitutional amendment to abolish the death penalty, which Oregon voters reinstated in 1984. If the measure passes the Legislature, voters will get a chance to consider it in November 2014.
At the least, the legislative measure could force the death penalty onto the list of the hottest issues in the 2014 campaign. Kitzhaber called for a wide-ranging state discussion about the death penalty. And that’s exactly what he may get.
The Corvallis Gazette-Times reports, "Death Row survivors to visit Corvallis," by Bennett Hall.
With the death penalty on trial in Oregon, two men who served time on Death Row in other states before being exonerated of crimes they did not commit will appear in Corvallis this week as part of a speaking tour challenging the validity of executing criminals.
Juan Melendez and Greg Wilhoit are scheduled to speak at 3 p.m. Thursday in the Construction and Engineering Hall at LaSells Stewart Center, 875 S.W. 26th St. Both men were cleared of the accusations against them after spending years in the shadow of the gallows and now tour the country speaking out against capital punishment.
“I think it highlights one of the arguments against the death penalty,” said Brett Burkhardt, an assistant sociology professor at OSU who’s coordinating the event. “Executions are irrevocable — if you make a mistake, someone dies.”
Corvallis lawyer Peter Fahy, a former Lincoln County prosecutor who now serves as a court-appointed defense attorney, will also be on hand to discuss his experiences in capital trials.
The free event, titled “Surviving Death Row,” is part of a four-campus swing through Oregon sponsored by Oregonians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty and Witness to Innocence. Melendez and Wilhoit are to speak at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland on Wednesday and will sandwich their Corvallis appearance Thursday between stops at Willamette University in Salem and Western Oregon University in Monmouth.
Earlier coverage of the Oregon repeal legislation begins at the link.