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Capital Punishment in the United States Explained

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In our Explainer series, Fair Punishment Project lawyers help unpackage some of the most complicated issues in the criminal justice system. We break down the problems behind the headlines - like bail, civil asset forfeiture, or the Brady doctrine - so that everyone can understand them. Wherever possible, we try to utilize the stories of those affected by the criminal justice system to show how these laws and principles should work, and how they often fail. We will update our Explainers monthly to keep them current. Read our updated explainer here.
To beat the clock on the expiration of its lethal injection drug supply, this past April, Arkansas tried to execute 8 men over 1 days. The stories told in frantic legal filings and clemency petitions revealed a deeply disturbing picture. Ledell Lee may have had an intellectual disability that rendered him constitutionally ineligible for the death penalty, but he had a spate of bad lawyers who failed to timely present evidence of this claim -…

Guyana passes terrorism law with death penalty provision

GEORGETOWN, Guyana (AP) — Guyana's parliament has approved anti-terrorism legislation that includes the death penalty for certain offenses and would allow rendition of suspects to other countries.

Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan told skeptical opposition lawmakers during a debate that ended late Wednesday that the legislation is necessary to make sure the South American nation does not become a haven for terrorists. 

He says allowing rendition would prevent abuses of the extradition process.

The ruling party used its one-seat majority to pass the bills during the National Assembly's final session for the year

 All members of the opposition abstained. President David Granger is expected to sign the legislation into law.

"Draconian times require Draconian measures," Ramjattan said during debate that stretched into the night.

Opposition lawmakers said that the provisions allowing the death penalty for terrorism offenses that resulted in death would violate human rights and they criticized the government of pushing through the legislation without submitting it to a committee for further review.

"This is a travesty," said Gail Texeira, an opposition member of the parliament. "Government cannot state what is the urgency in passing these bills."

Ramjattan brushed aside calls for removing the death penalty clauses, saying the option of capital punishment would "have that preventative, dissuasive effect" on potential offenders.

Source: Associated Press, December 31, 2015

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