Oregon Governor Kate Brown Commutes the State’s Death Row

December 13, 2022 | Outgoing Oregon Governor Kate Brown has commuted the sentences of all 17 individuals on the state’s death row.

Governor Brown, who has granted more commutations or pardons than all of Oregon’s governors from the last 50 years combined, follows in the footsteps of more than a dozen other governors that have granted universal clemency to all those sentenced to death in their state.

People sentenced to death in Oregon were always far more likely to die in prison than to be executed. The state has had a ban on executions for more than a decade, and the only two people executed there in the past 50 years were both “volunteers.”

This commutation action by Governor Brown further solidifies a growing rejection of capital punishment — not just in Oregon, but in states across the country. 

Nationwide, 37 states have either outlawed the death penalty or otherwise have gone more than 10 years without an execution. The small handful of states that continue to execute people are doing so over the growing protests at the local, state, and national levels.

CMN executive director Krisanne Vaillancourt Murphy offered the following statement:

“We applaud Governor Brown’s decisive action to clear Oregon’s death row and hope other state leaders across the nation and the federal government will follow her example in abandoning the antiquated, immoral, and unjust system of capital punishment.

Every person is endowed with a God-given dignity, regardless of the harm one has suffered or caused. The clearing of Oregon’s death row affirms this inalienable dignity of all human life.”

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