Judge allows Kitzhaber to defend Haugen reprieve

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SALEM, Ore. (AP) -- Gov. John Kitzhaber will be able to defend the legality of a reprieve he granted to delay the execution of an Oregon inmate.

A judge in Marion County on Wednesday allowed Kitzhaber to join the case. The governor asked to defend the reprieve after the district attorney's office declined to do so.

Gary Haugen, who was sentenced to death after a second murder conviction five years ago, argues that the governor's clemency is invalid because he doesn't accept it. He also argues that Kitzhaber's reprieve is invalid because it has no specific expiration date and lasts instead until the governor leaves office.

Kitzhaber asserts that he acted within his constitutional authority to grant clemency.