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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…

Connecticut court to rule on death penalty abolishment

The Connecticut Supreme Court is set to rule on whether to confirm or overturn its decision last year to abolish the state's death penalty.

Justices are expected to release their ruling Monday in the appeal of Russell Peeler Jr., who was sentenced to death for ordering the 1999 killings of a woman and her 8-year-old son in Bridgeport.

The court ruled 4-3 in August that capital punishment was unconstitutional, striking down a 2012 law that abolished the death penalty for future murders but left it in place for 11 men already facing execution. 

The decision came in the appeal of another death row inmate, Eduardo Santiago.

The Supreme Court allowed state prosecutors in the Peeler case to address issues the court raised in the Santiago ruling.

Source: Associated Press, Feb. 29, 2016

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