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Oregon Governor: No special session on death-penalty law

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown says she will not call a special session of the Legislature because of questions raised about whether a new law which narrows death penalty cases is retroactive.

Posted: Sep 19, 2019 11:11 AM
Updated: Sep 19, 2019 11:22 AM

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown says she will not call a special session of the Legislature because of questions raised about whether a new law which narrows death penalty cases is retroactive.

Brown said Wednesday that while it's clear there's a misunderstanding regarding the intent of the words in Senate Bill 1013, the session was conditional on support from stakeholders and legislators.


RELATED: Oregon lawmakers work to clarify new death penalty law


Brown says "that has not been achieved" and she can't justify the additional cost and time a special session requires without that support.

The new law narrows the state's use of the death penalty by substantially limiting the definition of aggravated murder.

After Brown signed it Aug. 1, lawyers for Martin Allen Johnson, who authorities say raped and murdered a teenage girl in 1998 before throwing her body off a bridge, raised the issue of whether the new law applies to him.

A judge determined the crime no longer qualifies as aggravated murder under the new law. Other cases could be affected.

Prosecutors, some lawmakers and crime victims had pushed Brown to call a special session to ensure the law would not impact old death penalty cases.


RELATED: Governor Brown, GOP leader disagree on death penalty fix


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Reported Deaths: 673
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Multnomah9502166
Marion6024109
Washington599178
Umatilla343545
Clackamas326766
Lane246727
Malheur194938
Jackson17967
Deschutes118513
Yamhill101315
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Union4842
Benton4636
Klamath4223
Douglas3688
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Hood River2841
Columbia2711
Josephine2703
Coos2601
Clatsop2480
Baker1403
Crook1132
Tillamook740
Curry581
Wallowa492
Lake430
Harney350
Sherman200
Grant120
Gilliam110
Wheeler10
Unassigned00

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Santa Cruz284825
Shasta199931
Napa199816
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