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Will the Supreme Court Kill The Death Penalty This Term?

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Will the U.S. Supreme Court add the fate of the death penalty to a term already fraught with hot-button issues like partisan gerrymandering, warrantless surveillance, and a host of contentious First Amendment disputes?
That’s the hope of an ambitious Supreme Court petition seeking to abolish the ultimate punishment. But it runs headlong into the fact that only two justices have squarely called for a reexamination of the death penalty’s constitutionality.
Abel Hidalgo challenges Arizona’s capital punishment system—which sweeps too broadly, he says, because the state’s “aggravating factors” make 99 percent of first-degree murderers death-eligible—as well as the death penalty itself, arguing it’s cruel and unusual punishment.
He’s represented by former acting U.S. Solicitor General Neal Katyal—among the most successful Supreme Court practitioners last term. Hidalgo also has the support of several outside groups who filed amicus briefs on his behalf, notably one from a group including Ari…

Japan: Man serving life for murder gets death sentence for another slaying

Gallows at Tokyo Detention Center
Gallows at Tokyo Detention Center
A man sentenced to life over a high-profile yami saito (darkness website) murder case in 2007 has now been sentenced to death for a different slaying committed 9 years earlier.

Judge Taro Kageyama of the Nagoya District Court sentenced Yoshitomo Hori, 40, to death on Tuesday in a lay judge trial for the murder of Ichio Magoori, 45, and his wife, Satomi, 36, in Aichi Prefecture in 1998.

In the 2007 murder case, Hori was initially sentenced to death in 2009 for kidnapping, robbing and killing Rie Isogai, 31, in Nagoya with 2 men Hori met through a so-called yami saito for seeking "crime mates."

The sentence was reduced to life in prison in 2011 by a higher court, which acknowledged the possibility of his rehabilitation. The sentence was finalized by the Supreme Court in 2012.

"It is rare that a death penalty is handed down to a defendant after his life imprisonment was finalized for a different case," said Hiroki Nakajima, a criminal law professor at Heisei International University.

According to the indictment, Hori conspired with 2 different men and killed the Magoori couple in an apartment in Hekinan and stole Y60,000 from them in June 1998.

Hori is also suspected of assaulting a woman in her 70s in an apartment in Nagoya and robbing her in 2006.M

One of Hori's accomplices in the Isogai murder, Kenji Kawagishi, was sentenced to life in prison, while the other, Tsukasa Kanda, was sentenced to death. He was hanged this past June.

Source: Japan Times, December 15, 2015

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