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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: 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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