Nation

Oregon court weighs execution delay

EUGENE, Ore. — A power struggle between a death-row inmate who wants to be executed and a governor who refuses to let it occur reached Oregon’s highest court Thursday as lawyers sparred over the governor’s authority to delay criminal sentences.

The lawyer for a man convicted of two murders argued that Governor John Kitzhaber lacks the authority to delay Gary Haugen’s execution without the inmate’s consent.

Advertisement

Kitzhaber, a death penalty opponent, regretted letting two other inmates be put to death and said he will not allow it again. He blocked Haugen’s execution in 2011, delaying the sentence until the governor leaves office.

‘‘The Constitution trumps his moral views,’’ said Haugen’s lawyer, Harrison Latto. ‘‘The Constitution has a clause in it that says the death penalty is legal.’’

Get Ground Game in your inbox:
Daily updates and analysis on national politics from James Pindell.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

The governor argued that his clemency power is absolute, and no one can prevent him from doing what he believes to be in the state’s best interest.

Kitzhaber has urged a statewide vote to abolish the death penalty; the Legislature may put it on the 2014 ballot.

Associated Press

Loading comments...
Real journalists. Real journalism. Subscribe to The Boston Globe today.
We hope you've enjoyed your free articles.
Continue reading by subscribing to Globe.com for just 99¢.
 Already a member? Log in Home
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com