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Haugen v. Kitzhaber

Haugen v. Kitzhaber

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Published by jmgamso
Oregon Supreme Court Opinion
Oregon Supreme Court Opinion

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Published by: jmgamso on Jun 21, 2013
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07/20/2014

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 Filed: June 20, 2013IN THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF OREGONGARY D. HAUGEN,Plaintiff-Respondent,v.JOHN KITZHABER,Governor of the State of Oregon,Defendant-Appellant.(CC 12C16560; CA A152412; SC S060761)En BancOn certification from the Court of Appeals under ORS 19.405.*Argued and submitted March 14, 2013.Harrison Latto, Portland, argued the cause and filed the brief for plaintiff-respondent.Anna M. Joyce, Solicitor General, Salem, argued the cause and filed the brief for defendant-appellant. With her on the brief were Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General,and Jake J. Hogue, Assistant Attorney General.Bruce L. Campbell, Miller Nash LLP, filed a brief for 
amici curiae
ACLU of Oregon, Inc., Oregon Justice Resource Center, and Oregon Capital Resource Center.With him on the brief were Elisa J. Dozono, Alexander M. Naito, Kevin Diaz, JeffreyEllis, and Erin McKee.BALMER, C. J.The judgment of the circuit court is reversed, and the case is remanded to thecircuit court with instructions to enter judgment in accordance with this opinion.*Appeal from Marion County Circuit Court,Timothy Alexander, Judge.
 
 1BALMER, C. J.1The Governor has the power to grant clemency, including pardons,2commutations, and reprieves, pursuant to Article V, section 14, of the Oregon3Constitution.
1
This case requires us to determine what constitutes a reprieve under that4constitutional provision. Specifically, we must decide whether a reprieve must have a5stated end date, whether it may be granted only for particular purposes, and whether it6must be accepted by the recipient to be effective.7After this court affirmed Gary Haugen's aggravated murder conviction and8death sentence, he decided not to pursue further appeals, and the trial court set an9execution date. Governor Kitzhaber subsequently issued a reprieve pursuant to Article V,10section 14, suspending Haugen's death sentence for the duration of Kitzhaber's service as11Governor. Haugen purported to reject that grant of clemency. He sought a judgment12declaring the reprieve ineffective and invalid, arguing that a reprieve must be accepted to13 be effective, or, alternatively, that the Governor's action did not qualify as a reprieve.14The trial court agreed that a reprieve must be accepted to be effective and accordingly15ruled the Governor's grant of clemency ineffective because Haugen had rejected it. The16Governor appealed, the Court of Appeals certified the appeal to this court, and this court17
1
Article V, section 14, provides, in part: "He [the Governor] shall have power to grant reprieves, commutations, and pardons, after conviction, for all offences[
 sic
] except treason, subject to such regulations as may be provided by law."
 
 2accepted the certification.
See
ORS 19.405 (procedures for certification of appeal).
2
For 1the reasons set forth below, we conclude that the reprieve is valid and effective.2Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the trial court.3I. FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS BELOW4The facts are undisputed. Gary Haugen has been an inmate in the Oregon5State Penitentiary since 1981, when he was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in6 prison. In 2007, while he was serving that sentence, a jury convicted Haugen of 7aggravated murder for the murder of a fellow inmate, and the jury sentenced Haugen to8death. This court affirmed the judgment of conviction and sentence of death.
State v.
9
 Haugen
, 349 Or 174, 176, 243 P3d 31 (2010).10After this court affirmed Haugen's conviction and sentence, he decided not11to pursue any further appeals. Following two death warrant hearings, the trial court set12an execution date of December 6, 2011. Before that date, Governor Kitzhaber issued a13reprieve, which read, in part:14"WHEREAS, Oregon's application of the death penalty is not fairly15and consistently applied, and I do not believe that state-sponsored16executions bring justice;17"NOW, THEREFORE, by virtue of the authority vested in me by18Article V, Section 14 of the Oregon Constitution, I, John A. Kitzhaber,19
2
ORS 19.405(1) provides, in part: "When the Court of Appeals has jurisdiction of an appeal, the court, through the Chief Judge and pursuant to appellaterules, may certify the appeal to the Supreme Court in lieu of disposition by the Court of Appeals." Under ORS 19.405(2), "The Supreme Court * * * may accept or denyacceptance of the certified appeal."

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