— Governor John Kitzhaber of Oregon.
This is what exercising moral authority looks like:
The governor, a physician who served two previous terms, from 1995 to 2003, noted that he had allowed the two previous executions to go forward under his watch.
“They were the most agonizing and difficult decisions I have made as governor and I have revisited and questioned them over and over again during the past 14 years,” Gov. Kitzhaber said. “I do not believe that those executions made us safer; and certainly they did not make us nobler as a society. And I simply cannot participate once again in something I believe to be morally wrong.”
Noting the length of time many inmates spend on death row, often more than 20 years, he said Oregon had an “unworkable system that fails to meet basic standards of justice.”
The governor did not commute the sentence of Mr. Haugen or any of the other death row inmates. He granted Mr. Haugen a temporary reprieve. He asked the Legislature “to bring potential reforms before the 2013 legislative session and encourage all Oregonians to engage in the long overdue debate that this important issue deserves.”