Oregon's Death Row only has around 35 inmates, a very small number when compared to neighboring California with its Death Row population of 719 people. We don't hear much about the death penalty in Oregon -- after all Oregon hasn't executed anyone since 1997.
Gary Haugen is changing all that. As an Oregon Death Row inmate, Haugen has been writing letter after letter to court officials, explaining that he wants to waive any remaining appeals that he may have, and go forward with his execution.
Gary Haugen could be executed by the State of Oregon this summer. At the hearing, prosecutors will ask for an execution date of July 28, 2011.
Will this be granted? Maybe. The judge must decide if Haugen is competent to waive his appellate rights.
And, if the judge grants the state's request - will the State of Oregon be prepared. Oh, yes. The Oregon Department of Corrections has already informed the media that pentobarbital will be replacing sodium thiopental in their three-drug lethal injection cocktail. They're ready to go.
Here's the thing: will this execution ready accomplish what Haugen is writing is his reason for asking to die now? Is this going to shed a spotlight on the "broken system" in Oregon or elsewhere? And, is this a good enough reason for a judge to okay the state to execute someone?
Is this a man tired of living on Death Row, or is this a man seeking a higher good with his life? Where is justice here?