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U.S. Supreme Court Turns Down Oregon Inmate's Request To Be Executed

Oregon Department of Corrections
File photo of Gary Haugen

Tuesday's Supreme Court ruling means that two-time murderer Gary Haugen will not be executed for the foreseeable future.

In 2011, Gary Haugen was weeks away from becoming the first person executed in Oregon since 1997. But Governor John Kitzhaber stepped in to halt the lethal injection. He said the state's capital punishment system is neither fair nor just. He said no one would be executed as long as he remains governor.

That infuriated Haugen, who said he was ready to die. He sued the state, claiming the governor had overstepped his authority with the death penalty moratorium. The Oregon Supreme Court heard arguments, then ruled in favor of the governor.

And now the U.S. Supreme Court has declined to take up a challenge to that ruling. That effectively means that none of the 34 inmates on Oregon's death row will be executed as long as Kitzhaber is in office. That could be as many as five more years if the Democrat wins re-election this fall.