California: With state executions on hold, death penalty foes rethink ballot strategy

California advocates of abolishing the death penalty got a jolt of momentum in March, when Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that he would not allow any executions to take place while he was in office.
But after trying twice this decade to persuade voters to end capital punishment, they have no plans to go to the ballot again in 2020. Rather than seeking to build on Newsom’s temporary reprieve for Death Row inmates, activists are taking their own pause.
Grappling with the legacy of their two failed initiatives, advocates are reassessing their strategy and retooling their message. Natasha Minsker, a political consultant who has long been involved with abolition efforts, said the governor’s moratorium has given advocates the opportunity to do long-term planning.
“There’s this excitement and energy in our movement that we haven’t had in a long time,” Minsker said.
Newsom’s executive order caught many Californians by surprise. Although he supported the unsuccessful ballot measures to abolish t…

Poland's opposition party wants death penalty reinstated

PiS leader Jarosław Kaczyński said the penalty should be applied to those who commit exceptionally cruel murders

Jarosław Kaczyński, the leader of Poland's main opposition party, Law and Justice (PiS), told journalists on Friday that his party will soon submit an amendment to the penal code calling for the reinstatement of the death penalty.

“We would like to reinstate the death penalty for exceptionally cruel murders, and in general, increase the punishment for murders,” Mr Kaczyński said.

According to the PiS party leader, Poland's average punishment for committing a murder is seven years in prison; this figure includes second degree murder.

“The nation should be protecting its honest people and combating crime, so that the average Pole can feel safe,” he added.

Mr Kaczyński said that he is aware of objections the EU administration could have to this plan. However, he said that there is no law in the EU which forbids the death penalty.

“Just because the EU elites are against it, does not mean we have to be. We are a sovereign state,” he added.

Poland has signed and ratified Protocol 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights which forbids the death penalty in times of peace.

Signing and ratifying the treaty is a condition which must be met in order for a country to be allowed to join the EU.

Source: Izabela Depczyk, Warsaw Business Journal, November 25, 2011

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