Constitutional Law

Death Row Inmate Challenges Oregon Gov's Order Giving Him an Execution Reprieve

Sentenced to death but given a reprieve by a state governor who says there will be no executions on his watch, an Oregon inmate is challenging the suspension of his death sentence.

Gary Haugen, through his legal counsel, is challenging as unconstitutional Gov. John Kitzhaber’s reprieve order, contending that it is legally ineffective because it has not been accepted by the defendant, the Oregonian reports.

In a motion and supporting memorandum (PDF) filed Monday in state circuit court, attorney Harrison Latto seeks an order requiring the state to issue a new death warrant.

Haugen, who has waived his appeals, had been scheduled for execution in December of last year. It would have been the state’s first execution in 14 years, reports the Salem Statesman Journal.

“I don’t have a slam-dunk case,” Latto, who is representing Haugen on a pro bono basis, tells the Oregonian. But “as a lawyer, I’m challenged and stimulated by interesting legal issues. And I consider this to be very interesting and challenging.”

Related coverage: “Ore. Governor Halts Executions; Death Row Inmate Likely Disappointed, Lawyer Says”

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