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America Is Stuck With the Death Penalty for (At Least) a Generation

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With Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement, the national fight to abolish capital punishment will have to go local.
When the Supreme Court revived capital punishment in 1976, just four years after de facto abolishing it, the justices effectively took ownership of the American death penalty and all its outcomes. They have spent the decades since then setting its legal and constitutional parameters, supervising its general implementation, sanctioning its use in specific cases, and brushing aside concerns about its many flaws.
That unusual role in the American legal system is about to change. With Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement from the court this summer, the Supreme Court will lose a heterodox jurist whose willingness to cross ideological divides made him the deciding factor in many legal battles. In cases involving the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, his judgment often meant the difference between life and death for hundreds of death-row pr…

Belarusian Man Sentenced To Death On Murder Charges

Belarusian court has sentenced a man to death for 2 fatal robberies, the 2nd death sentence this year to be handed down in the only country in Europe that still uses it.

Judges in the court in the western city of Hrodno found Ivan Kulish guilty on November 20 of killing 3 saleswomen during 2 robberies in 2013 and 2014.

Kulish, 28, refused to testify during the trial and didn't make any remarks after the verdict.

In March, a court in the southeastern city of Homel sentenced a man to death for the murder of a young woman.

According to rights groups, more than 400 people have been sentenced to death in the ex-Soviet republic since the early 1990s.

The European Union on November 20 urged Belarus to join a global moratorium on the death penalty as "a 1st step towards its abolition."

"The death penalty is a cruel and inhuman punishment, which fails to act as a deterrent and represents an unacceptable denial of human dignity and integrity," the EU said in a statement.

Source: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, November 22, 2015


Statement by the E.U. Spokesperson on a death sentence in Belarus

"A death sentence was handed down on 20 November to Ivan Kulesh by the Hrodna Regional Court of the Republic of Belarus. The European Union expects that Mr Kulesh's right to appeal will be fully guaranteed.

Mr Kulesh was convicted for serious crimes and we extend our deepest sympathy to the family and friends of the victim of these crimes. Nevertheless, the European Union opposes capital punishment in all cases as it cannot be justified under any circumstances. The death penalty is a cruel and inhuman punishment, which fails to act as a deterrent and represents an unacceptable denial of human dignity and integrity.

The European Union urges Belarus, the only country in Europe still applying capital punishment, to join a global moratorium on the death penalty as a first step towards its abolition."

Source: europa.eu, November 22, 2015

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