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Be thankful: Oregon’s governor declares moratorium on executions

Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber

Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber

More evidence that the death penalty is on its way out—from The New York Times‘s “Oregon Governor Says He Will Block Executions”:

Gov. John Kitzhaber of Oregon on Tuesday said he would halt the execution of a death row inmate scheduled for next month and that he would allow no more executions in the state during his time in office.

“It is time for Oregon to consider a different approach,” Governor Kitzhaber, a Democrat elected last fall, said in a news conference in Salem on Tuesday afternoon. “I refuse to be a part of this compromised and inequitable system any longer; and I will not allow further executions while I am governor.”

Oregon, which uses lethal injection, has executed just two people since its voters approved the death penalty in 1984, and both of those inmates waived certain rights to appeal, making them so-called volunteers. The state, which has 37 inmates on death row, last executed someone in 1997. It has been one of at least seven states that allow the death penalty but have not used it in more than a decade, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

Thank you to Gov. Kitzhaber (thank him yourself at DeathPenaltyAction.org, show your support for his decision by voting yes in this poll) and congrats to the people of Oregon and Oregonians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty!

Hopefully Kentucky’s Gov. Steve Beshear will reach a similar common-sense decision soon. Why should Kentucky abolish the death penalty?

Photo: Courtesy Oregon.gov

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