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Judge Alexanders Haugen Ruling

Judge Alexanders Haugen Ruling

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Published by capitolcurrents
Oregon judge overturns Governor's reprieve of Gary Haugen's execution.
Oregon judge overturns Governor's reprieve of Gary Haugen's execution.

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Published by: capitolcurrents on Aug 03, 2012
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08/03/2012

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ENTERED
AUG03
2012
STATEOFOREGON
MarionCounty
CircuitCourts
AUG03-2012
FILED
v1arionCounty
Circuit
Court
INTHECIRCUITCOURTOFTHESTATEOFOREGONFORTHETHIRDJUDICIALDISTRICTGARYD.HAUGEN,Plaintiff,No.12C16560
v.
OPINIONOFTHECOURTJOHNKITZHABER,Governor
0
ftheStateofOregonDefendant.
ThisdisputecomesbeforethecourtonPlaintiffsMotionforJudgmentonthePleadingspursuanttoORCP21B.Mr.Haugencontendsthatthereisnodisputeofmaterialfactandthatheisentitledtojudgmentonthebasisofthepleadings.Defendant,GovernorJohnKitzhaber,agreesthattherelevantfactsarenotindispute,butcontendsthathisreprieveisvalidandnotsubjecttoattackonanytheoryadvancedbyMr.Haugen.Bothpartiesarerepresentedbycounsel,andhavesubmittedlegalresearchandoralargumenttoassistthecourtinresolvingthisdispute.Consideringthelongbutsparsehistoryofthisareaofthelaw,eachattorneyinvolvedinthecasehasdoneanexceptionaljobinprovidingreferencestocourtdecisionsbothstateandfederalthathavesomebearingontheoutcomehere.,havebeenpersonallyinvolvedwithdeathpenaltylitigationformorethan40years,actingasprosecutingattorney,defenseattorney,appellateattorney,andtrialjudge.MydecisioninthisdeclaratoryjudgmentcaseisnotintendedtobeacriticismofGovernorKitzhaberortheviewshehasexpressedinhisstatementaccompanyingthereprievehehasofferedtoMr.Haugen.Infact,Iagreewithmanyoftheconcernsexpressedbythegovernor,andsharehishopethatthelegislaturewiflbereceptivetomodifyingandimprovingOregonlawsregardingsentencingforAggravatedMurder.ManyOregonjudgeswithexperiencepresidingoverdeathpenaltycaseswouldconcurthatthecurrentlawrequiresspendingextraordinarysumsoftaxdollarsthatcouldbebetterusedforotherpurposestoenforceasystemthatrarely
if
everresultsinexecutions.However,consistentwiththeresolutionofeveryothercase,Iamrequiredtosetasidemypersonalviewsanddecidethiscaseonitsmeritsandthelaw.
 
Ifindthatthereisnodisputeastothefollowingfacts:1.GaryD.HaugenwasconvictedofaggravatedmurderandsentencedtodeathinMay2007;2.TheconvictionandsentencewereaffirmedonappealbytheOregonSupremeCourt;3.Mr.Haugenhasacceptedthedecisionofthecourtsandhaspursuednofurtherappeals;4.Thetrialcourtconductedtwodeathwarranthearings,andeventuallysetanexecutiondateofDecember6,2011;5.Priortotheexecutiondate,GovernorKitzhaberissuedareprieveforthelengthofhistermasgovernor(thetermsofsaidreprieveandthegovernor'sstatementofexplanationbeingincorporatedbyreferenceinthesefindingsoffact);6.Mr.Haugenhasrepeatedlyandunequivocallyrejectedanddeclinedthereprieveanddemandedthatthesentenceofdeathbecarriedout.Afterreviewingtheauthoritiescitedandhearingoralargument,thedisputehastwocriticalelements.Thepreliminaryquestioniswhetherthereprieveisvalid,orfailsduetothelackofadefiniteexpirationdate.Ifthathurdleisaccomplished,theresolutionofthecaseturnsonwhetherareprievemustbeacceptedbyMr.Haugeninorderforittobeeffective.Ihaveconcludedthatthereisnorequirementthatareprievespecifyaparticulardatethatitexpires.Thereprieve,onitsface,limitsthereprievetothedurationoftheGovernor'sservice.Thereprieveisthustemporary,asisnecessarytodefinetheclemencyasareprieve.TheGovernor'sclemencypowerincludesthegreaterpowersofpardonandcommutation.Inthiscase,theGovernorcouldchoosetocommutePlaintiff'ssentencetolifeinprison.Thisisthefunctionalequivalentofanindefinitereprieve,andthereisnoquestionthattheGovernorpossessesthispower.ItisillogicaltosuggestthattheGovernorpossessesthelesserpowertograntareprieveforasettimeandthegreaterpowertocommuteasentenceindefinitely,butnottheintermediatepowertograntareprieveforanindeterminatetimefixedontheoutsidebyhisserviceasGovernor.HavingresolvedthefirstissueinfavorofGovernorKitzhaber,Iturntothesecondquestion:whetherareprievemustbeacceptedinordertobeeffective.Ihaveansweredthatquestionintheaffirmative,andbecauseMr.Haugenrejectedthereprieve,thereprieveisnecessarilyineffective.
1
neednotreachtheremainingallegationsinthecomplaint.Becausethetimingofthecasesisimportant,Ipresenttherelevantcaselawinchronologicalorder.Plaintiffreliesheavilyonthedoctrineof"acceptance"illustratedbyChiefJusticeJohnMarshallin
U.S.
v.
Wilson,
32US150(1833).IborrowfromPlaintiff'sstatementofthefacts:In
Wilson,
thedefendantwascharged,inpart,withthreeoffenses,allstemmingfromthesametrainrobbery.Thethreechargeswere:(1)obstructingthemall;(2)robberyofthe
 
mail;and(3)robberyofthemailandputtingthecarrier'slifeindanger.Thedefendantwastriedandconvictedofrobberyofthemailandputtingthecarrier'slifeindanger.Hewassentencedtodeath,atwhichtimehechangedhispleastoguiltyontheremainingtwocharges.PresidentJacksonthenissuedanunconditionalpardonontheconvictionthatresultedinadeathsentence,forthestatedreasonthattheconvictionsontheotherchargeswouldlikelyresultinlengthyimprisonment.Thepardonstipulatedthatitdidnotextendtoanyoftheotherconvictions.Beforejudgmentwasimposedononeoftheothercharges,thetrialcourtinquiredregardingtheeffectofthepardon,sincethechargeswerecloselyrelated.Inresponse,thedefendantstatedthathe"waivedanddeclinedanyadvantageorprotectionwhichmightbesupposedtoarisefromthepardon."
!d.
at158.UltimatelytheSupremeCourtheldthatthepardoncouldnotbejudiciallynoticedbecauseithadtobebroughtbeforethecourtbeforeitcouldhaveanyeffect.TheCourtexplainedthat"[a]pardonisadeed,tothevalidityofwhichdeliveryisessential,anddeliveryisnotcompletewithoutacceptance.Itmaythenberejectedbythepersontowhomitistendered;andifitberejected,wehavediscoverednopowerinacourttoforceitonhim."
!d.
at161.Thus,adefendantrejectingapardonmightdeclinetobringitbeforethecourt.This"acceptance"theoryestablishesarighttorejectapardon.Defendantarguesthatonlyconditionalclemencymustbeacceptedinordertobeeffective.However,nothinginthelanguageofthecasesuggeststhattherighttorejectstemsfromaconditionofthepardon.Indeed,thepardonin
Wilson
wasunconditional.Instead,therighttorejectrisesfromtheverynatureofthepardon.Itisanactofgraceandadeed.Furthermore,nothingin
Wilson
suggeststhatpardonsshouldbetreateddifferentlythananyotherformofclemency.Anyformofclemencymustbeacceptedinordertobeeffective.Chronologically,thenextcasefordiscussionisthefirstrelevantOregoncase,
ExparteHoughton,
49Or232(1907).In
Houghton,
theGovernorgrantedaprisoneraconditionalcommutationtotimeserved.Theprisonerwasreleased,butwasshortlyafterarrestedpursuanttoafindingbytheGovernorthathehadviolatedthetermsoftheconditions.TheCourtheldthat"[tlhecommutationwasanactofgraceorfavor,andhewasnotobligedtoacceptitunlesshesodesired.Hemighthaverefusedit,andservedouthissentenceasoriginallyimposed,butchosetoaccepttheconditionalcommutation,andindoingsostipulatedthatforaviolationoftheconditionshemightbesummarilyarrestedbyorderoftheGovernorandremandedtothepenitentiarytoservetheremainderofhisoriginalsentence."
ki.
at234-235.Thoughtheclemencyinquestionisconditional,nothinginthelanguageofthecaseindicatesthattherighttorefuserisesoutoftheconditionalnatureoftheclemency.TheCourtcouldeasilyhavestatedthat
because
theclemencywasconditional,theprisonerhadarightto

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