Attorneys Supporting Repeal

(Any member of the Oregon State Bar wishing to add his or her name to the following Statement may do so by sending an email to that effect to

Statement Concerning Oregon’s Death Penalty

          We, the undersigned members of the Oregon State Bar, hereby assert our opposition to capital punishment and our support for a ballot measure which would remove the death penalty from Article I, Section 40, of the Oregon Constitution and ORS 163.105 et seq., for some or all of the following reasons:

  1. The death penalty puts innocent lives at risk.  Since 1976, 143 condemned individuals have been freed nationally because of actual innocence or profound doubt as to their guilt.  Of the more than 1265 persons executed since 1976, it is highly likely that some were innocent.  During the same period, six people in Oregon have been exonerated of murder convictions, several of which could potentially have resulted in death sentences.
  2. The death penalty does not deter murder.  Almost all criminologists agree that the death penalty is not a deterrent.  In fact, the murder rate in death penalty states is higher, on the whole, than the murder rate in states without the death penalty.
  3. There are better ways to serve the needs of victims of violent crime.  Prompt imposition of lifelong imprisonment, coupled with serious and sustained attention to the needs of survivors, constitutes a wiser and more humane response to homicide.
  4. The death penalty is costly.  The millions of taxpayer dollars spent annually on the death penalty could be used for many purposes that would make us demonstrably safer:  additional police on the streets; domestic violence and child abuse prevention programs; drug courts and treatment; early childhood education—to name just a few.
  5. The death penalty is arbitrary and unfair.  Many of the murders for which death has been imposed in Oregon are indistinguishable from the murders which have resulted in life imprisonment.  The death penalty is applied unequally to the poor, people of color, and those with diminished mental capacity.  Such considerations are intolerable where life and death are concerned.
  6. The death penalty creates additional victims.  No juror should be asked to decide whether an offender should live or die, and no corrections officer should be asked to participate in the killing of another human being.  Their mental health should not be jeopardized where there is no clear and compelling benefit to society.

          While there may be room for philosophical debate over the morality of capital punishment, we agree with former Justices Blackmun, Powell and Stevens, all of whom voted to reinstate it in Gregg v. Georgia, 428 U.S. 153 (1976), that our nation’s experiment with the death penalty has failed and should be abandoned.  As the American Law Institute has found, death penalty statutes in this country, including Oregon’s, do not meet and are likely never to meet “basic concerns of fairness in process and outcome.”
          Oregonians should repeal our state’s use of capital punishment.


Name                                Oregon State Bar Number                City                                        
Barbara J. Aaby 931951 Beaverton
Barbara Aldave 660021 Eugene
Laura Althouse 073185 Portland
Megan Annand 925567 Medford
Robyn Ridler Aoyagi 000168 Portland
Patricia L. Chor 922577 Wilsonville
Cynthia Danforth 972820 Eugene
Heather Decker 962589 Milwaukie
Patrick J. Ehlers 041186 Portland
Jeffrey Ellis 102990 Portland
Karen Fink 771743 Portland
Adina Flynn 962858 Portland
Michelle Freed 042880 Portland
John Gear 073810 Salem
Lydia Godfrey 071979 Portland
Michael W. Grainey 790505 Salem
Amanda Guile 093706 Portland
Tiffany Hamilton 111084  
Stephen Kanter 710918 Portland
Samuel Kauffman 943527 Portland
Ember Kauth 074310 Portland
Theresa Kohlholff 80398 Portland
Mark Kramer 814977 Portland
Lewis Littlehales 762219 Salem
Catriona McCracken 933587 Portland
Gail McEwen 013413 Salem
David McNeil 810780 Portland
Lucas Meyer 064363 Portland
Cynthia Mohiuddin 933713 Tigard
Carl R. Neil 580653 Portland
Kathryn Olney 873117 Portland
Olufunmike Owoso 101350 Portland
Susan Elizabeth Reese 732454 Newport
Matthew Rubenstein 061491 Portland
Scott Lee Sharp 031437 Portland
William D. Stark 893651 Salem
Elizabeth Stephens 791117 Portland
Kristin Sterling 003996 Portland
Charles Tauman 773710 Portland
Amy Van Horn
Alena Vazquez 111955  
Nancie Potter Wamser 801525 Portland
Alexandra West 051434 Portland
Theresa Wright 814289 Portland



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