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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…

Indonesia: Police Officer Sentenced to Death in Medan Drug Smuggling Case

Drug bust by Indonesian police
Drug bust by Indonesian police
Medan, North Sumatra. Two people, including a police officer, have been sentenced to death while the son of one of the convicts will spend his life in prison after the trio was found guilty of smuggling crystal methamphetamine and ecstasy pills from Malaysia into Medan, North Sumatra.

A police officer was sentenced to death while his son for life for smuggling ten kilograms of crystal methamphetamine and 271 ecstasy pills from Malaysia into the provincial capital, officials said on Wednesday (17/02).

The Tanjung Balai District Court sentenced 48-year-old Adj. First Insp. Mustajab of the North Sumatra Regional Police and his partner, a 50-year-old civilian identified as Syahdan, to death while Mustajab's 22-year-old son Reza Maulana will spend life behind bars.

Syahdun was arrested by the National Narcotics Agency (BNN) in 2015 after transporting hundreds of ecstasy pills in his boat. After questioning, the authorities found Mustajab and Reza were also involved in the international drug network.

The father and son were arrested in the province's Tanjung Balai Selatan and were found to have 10 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine in their home.

“Their crime potentially jeopardizes the country's future generation. In addition, Mustajab is a police officer who has abused his authority. Mustajab and Syahdan are also repeat offenders for being drug couriers for three times. Nothing can make the sentence lighter,” presiding Judge Ulina Marbun said on Wednesday at the Court.

Indonesia's legal system takes a tough approach to those found guilty of drug crimes. In April 2015, eight people were executed at Cilacap's Nusakambangan Prison in Central Java — seven of them were foreigners.

Source: Jakarta Globe, Feb. 18, 2016

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