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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…

Japan: Death penalty sought for man over 1998 murder of Aichi couple

Osaka Prison cell where inmates are held in solitary confinement
Osaka Prison cell where inmates are held in solitary confinement
NAGOYA — Prosecutors on Monday demanded the death penalty for a man indicted over the 1998 murder and robbery of a couple in Aichi Prefecture, central Japan.

The death penalty was sought for Hiroshi Sato, 39, in a lay judge trial at the Nagoya District Court over the murder of company executive Ichio Magoori, 45, and his wife Satomi, 36, in the city of Hekinan.

Prosecutors said Sato “committed a cruel and evil crime, taking the lives of a couple who had done nothing wrong just to get money.” The court is expected to hand down a ruling on Feb 5.

Sato’s accomplice, Yoshitomo Hori, 40, who was sentenced to death in December, has appealed the ruling.

According to the indictment, Sato conspired with Hori and Teruo Hayama to kill the couple at their home and stole approximately 60,000 yen in June 1998. The three men were co-workers at the time.

Sato’s defense counsel urged the court not to sentence him to death, saying he “just helped his accomplices and has reflected on what he did, praying for the repose of the couple’s souls.”

Sato offered an apology to the relatives of the victims in the trial.

Separately, Sato and Hori have been indicted for attempting to kill a woman in her 70s by strangling her at her home in Nagoya and robbing her of around 25,000 yen in 2006.

Source: Japan Today, January 26, 2016

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