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4/20/2013 11:33:00 AM
Retired chief justice to keynote death penalty repeal event
Willamette University photo
Justice Paul De Muniz
Willamette University photo
Justice Paul De Muniz

Frank Thompson and Paul De Muniz were, not long ago, among the few Oregonians who wore the mantle of justice most heavily on their shoulders. As State Penitentiary Superintendent and Oregon Supreme Court justice respectively, both upheld Oregon law, even though they struggled mightily with one of those laws — capital punishment.

Thompson, who presided over the last two inmate executions (1996 and '97), is on the board of Oregonians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty and has testified before the Maryland Legislature about that state's repeal process. De Muniz, now on the faculty of Willamette University, will be the keynote speaker at the upcoming annual meeting of OADP, set to begin at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 2, at Willamette University’s Putnam Center.

De Muniz, a longtime member of Queen of Peace Parish in Salem, worked first as a state public defender and in private practice doing criminal defense work.

Thompson, along with other former correctional professionals, will join the Justice at the head table for the May 2 event.

The push to repeal Oregon's death penalty comes a year and a half after Gov. John Kitzhaber prohibited executions during his term.

Maryland soon will be the 18th state to repeal the death penalty and the sixth state in six years. Oregon’s repeal must come by popular vote, rather than in the Legislature. “

"This annual meeting will be part of our effort to educate voters,” said Ron Steiner, board chair for OADP and also a member of Queen of Peace.

Since boosting its statewide effort in 2010, OADP has increased its membership tenfold. The number of organizations supporting the Oregon repeal has grown from a half-dozen to more than 600. Influential groups signing on as supporters include the ACLU, Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Amnesty International and Oregon Peaceworks.

For more information or to purchase tickets, call (503) 990-7060.

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