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Editorial: In a civilized society, not even the most vicious crimes justify a death sentence

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It is soul-bruising to contemplate the torture that 10-year-old Anthony Avalos endured in his Lancaster home for more than a week before dying last year. Whippings with a looped cord and belt. Repeatedly held upside down then dropped on his head. Getting slammed into pieces of furniture and against the floor. Hot sauce poured on his face and mouth.
The road map of the abuse stretched from head to toe on his small malnourished body — bruises, abrasions, scabs and cuts visible on the outside. Traumatic brain injury and soft tissue damage on the inside. All allegedly perpetrated by his mother, Heather Barron, and her boyfriend, Kareem Leiva.
RELATED | California: Prosecutors seeking death penalty in Anthony Avalos torture case
If ever a set of circumstances called for the death penalty, this would be it. Few were surprised when Los Angeles County prosecutors said Wednesday that if the couple is convicted of the torture-murder, the jury will be asked to recommend a death sentence.
Such ca…

China reduces the number of crimes punishable by death to 46, but keeps drug trafficking in the list

China removes nine non-violent and rarely used criminal offenses from capital punishment.

The amended Criminal Law, which will take effect on Nov. 1, removed 9 crimes punishable by death including: smuggling weapons, ammunition, nuclear materials or counterfeit currency; counterfeiting currency; raising funds by means of fraud; arranging for or forcing another person to engage in prostitution; obstructing a police officer or a person on duty from performing his duties; and fabricating rumors to mislead others during wartime.

It is the 2nd time China has reduced the number of crimes punishable by death over the past 5 years. 

In 2011, the NPC Standing Committee dropped the death penalty for 13 crimes, reducing the list from 68 to 55.

The death penalty is still used for a wide range of crimes, including non-violent crimes such as corruption and drug-related offenses. 

China remains the country with most executions in the world, estimated at 2,400 in 2014.

Source: worldcoalition.org, October 8, 2015

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