OR Gov. Grants Clemency To Murderer, But Not To Man Collecting Rainwater

By Craig Bannister | August 6, 2012 | 9:04am EDT

Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber won’t even discuss clemency for a man convicted of collecting rainwater, yet he’s forcing a reprieve on a convicted murderer – who wants to be executed.

Democrat Gov. Kitzhaber has granted a reprieve “for the duration of my service as governor” to Gary D. Haugen, who has twice been convicted of aggravated murder. Haugen – who wants to be executed - was first convicted of killing the mother of his girlfriend and later was found guilty of murdering a fellow inmate.

Meanwhile, Gov. Kitzhaber’s office won’t even discuss the possibility of granting any form of clemency to Gary Harrington, who is scheduled to begin serving a 30 day jail term this week – for collecting rainwater his (Harrington’s) own property.

Gary Harrington of Eagle Point, Ore., was sentenced July 25 in Jackson County Circuit Court to 30 days in jail and over $1,500 in fines for violating Oregon state laws that say all water is publically owned--making the 3 reservoirs on his property used to house rainwater and snow runoff illegal. has repeatedly contacted the governor’s office via phone and email to ask if the governor has any intention of pardoning Harrington or commuting his sentence. But the governor's office has not responded to any of those inquiries.

And, while Harrington is scheduled to begin serving his jail sentence on Wednesday (Aug. 8) despite appealing his conviction, Haugen has waived his available appeals regarding his sentence.

Haugen has even filed a lawsuit against Gov. Kitzhaber seeking judicial intervention to invalidate the reprieve and allow the state to execute him. Haugen claims that state law allows him to refuse the reprieve.

In his report to the Oregon Legislative Assembly, Gov. Kitzhaber acknowledges that Hauber has waived his right to appeal his death sentence. But, the governor continues to fight Hauber’s lawsuit, insisting he does not need Hauber’s permission to grant the reprieve.

The judge hearing Haugen’s complaint against the governor is asking for additional input before deciding whether or not to grant Haugen’s request to be executed.

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