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Capital Punishment in the United States Explained

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In our Explainer series, Fair Punishment Project lawyers help unpackage some of the most complicated issues in the criminal justice system. We break down the problems behind the headlines - like bail, civil asset forfeiture, or the Brady doctrine - so that everyone can understand them. Wherever possible, we try to utilize the stories of those affected by the criminal justice system to show how these laws and principles should work, and how they often fail. We will update our Explainers monthly to keep them current. Read our updated explainer here.
To beat the clock on the expiration of its lethal injection drug supply, this past April, Arkansas tried to execute 8 men over 1 days. The stories told in frantic legal filings and clemency petitions revealed a deeply disturbing picture. Ledell Lee may have had an intellectual disability that rendered him constitutionally ineligible for the death penalty, but he had a spate of bad lawyers who failed to timely present evidence of this claim -…

South Korea Top Court OKs Soldier's Death Penalty Over Rampage

"Shooting rampages by bullied South Korean soldiers are not unusual."
South Korea's top court on Friday upheld a death penalty for a soldier convicted of killing five comrades in shooting and grenade attacks in a front-line army unit in 2014.

The verdict by the Supreme Court is final and cannot be appealed, a court official said, requesting anonymity because of department rules. The Defense Ministry said it confirmed the court's ruling.

The conscript, only identified by his surname Yim, had told investigators after his arrest that he assaulted fellow soldiers because he felt insulted by drawings they made of him. He had fled into the forest near the border with North Korea but was captured after a failed suicide attempt.

South Korean courts occasionally issue death sentences but the country has not executed anyone since December 1997. 

Yim has become the 61st person in South Korea on a death row, according to records from the Justice Ministry and the Defense Ministry.

South Korea requires all able-bodied men to serve in the military for about 2 years in the face of a threat from North Korea. 

Shooting rampages by bullied soldiers in South Korean army barracks are not unusual. In 2005, another soldier went on a similar rampage and killed 8 colleagues in anger at superiors who he said verbally abused him. He too was sentenced to death.

Such rampages raised serious questions about the discipline and readiness of South Korea's military, which faces North Korean troops across the world's most heavily fortified border. Confrontations between the rivals deepened recently following the North's nuclear test and long-range rocket launch.

Source: Associated Press, Feb. 19, 2016

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