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High court rejects Haugen case

PORTLAND (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court declined Tuesday to consider the case of Oregon death row inmate Gary Haugen, who sought to force his own execution.

The high court denied Haugen’s petition without comment, The Oregonian reported. Haugen was twice convicted of murder and sentenced to death by a jury in 2007.

The decision effectively means Haugen will continue to live on Oregon’s death row for the duration of Gov. John Kitzhaber’s term in office, the newspaper said. Haugen had waived his legal appeals in 2011 as a way of protesting the legal system and demanded that the state carry out his death sentence.

Kitzhaber issued a reprieve and has said he won’t allow any executions as long as he is governor. The governor has called capital punishment “morally wrong” and also said that Oregon’s system “fails to meet basic standards of justice.” Kitzhaber announced last month he’s running for re-election.

Haugen sued Kitzhaber, and in 2012 a judge agreed with the inmate’s arguments that he had to accept the reprieve in order for it to be effective. The Oregon Supreme Court overturned that decision, finding that the governor’s action needed no such acceptance.

Haugen’s lawyer then sought U.S. Supreme Court review of one federal claim — that the uncertainty of the timeline for carrying out Haugen’s sentence constituted cruel and unusual punishment, in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

Earlier this month, Haugen’s co-defendant and fellow death row inmate, Jason Brumwell, said he wants to waive his own legal appeals and challenge the state to execute him.

Brumwell was sent to death row in 2007 with Haugen after the two were convicted of a prison killing.

There are 34 men and one woman on Oregon’s death row. No inmate has been given a lethal injection since 1997.

Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com

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