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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…

Saudi Arabia executes own citizen for kidnapping; 64th execution this year

Public execution in Saudi Arabia (file photo)
Public execution in Saudi Arabia (file photo)
February 23, 2016: A Saudi who kidnapped and tried to rape his employer was put to death in the kingdom’s 64th execution of the year.

Mufrih bin Ahmed Khamis worked as the victim’s driver, the interior ministry said in a statement.

A court found that he consumed alcohol before abducting her and her baby, "taking advantage of the fact that he drove her to the school where she worked," it said.

"He beat her, handcuffed her and placed tape over her mouth. He then drove her to an isolated location and tried to rape her."

After stealing her money and telephone, Khamis abandoned the woman and child, the ministry added.

After his trial and conviction, Khamis was executed in the southwestern city of Abha. 

Source: Agence France-Presse, Feb. 23, 2016

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