Oregon governor John Kitzhaber has banned the death penalty for the remainder of his term in office, saying that he’s opposed to capital punishment on moral grounds and expressing concern over the late 90s executions of Douglas Wright and Harry Moore.
The Democrat’s decision means that Oregon’s 37 Death Row inmates face no immediate prospect of execution. That includes a murderer who was due to be put to death in the next couple of weeks. Oregon is now the fifth state to halt executions since 2007.
Supporters of the death penalty say that Kitzhaber is going against the will of the people of Oregon, who have generally supported capital punishment. But Kitzhaber’s supporters note that his decision is one made on moral grounds, and that there is an argument in favour of the death penalty being an anachronism.