Ironies upon ironies: The current governor of Oregon, John Kitzhaber is a big fan of his state’s assisted suicide law. But he opposes the death penalty, even though the people of that state have twice voted to retain it. And when a death row inmate named Gary Haugen rejected K’s clemency from execution — the dispute ended up in court with the murderer wanting to die and “Governor Right to Die” saying no. Now, the inmate has won the trial. From the Oregonian story:
Death row inmate Gary Haugen won a legal battle Friday against Gov. John Kitzhaber when a judge ruled he could reject the governor’s reprieve of his execution and move forward in his efforts to die by lethal injection. The opinion by Senior Judge Timothy P. Alexander is expected to initiate new adversarial proceedings between the prisoner who volunteered to die and the governor who had a change of heart about capital punishment. Harrison Latto, the veteran Portland defense lawyer representing Haugen, said Friday he hadn’t spoken to his client about the opinion. “I’m sure he’ll be gratified that the judge ruled in his favor,” Latto said. “I think he will be happy his legal position has been vindicated.”
Extensive litigation sure to follow.
Here’s a thought: If the inmate really wants to die, just tell Kitzhaber he has cancer. That would do the trick.