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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…

Indian jailed for 14 years in Bali drug-smuggling case

Bali's Kerobokan prison
Bali's Kerobokan prison
An Indian man was jailed for 14 years today for trying to bring crystal methamphetamine into the Indonesian resort island of Bali.

Denpasar (Indonesia), March 28: An Indian man was jailed for 14 years today for trying to bring crystal methamphetamine into the Indonesian resort island of Bali.

Sayed Mohammed Said was arrested with 1.5 kilograms (53 ounces) of the narcotics hidden inside his backpack when he arrived at Bali airport from Bangkok in September. The 30-year-old claimed the package belonged to a friend and he did not know it contained drugs.

But he was found guilty Monday at a court in the Balinese capital Denpasar, and a judge handed down the 14-year sentence.

The prison term was lower than the 20 years recommended by prosecutors and he escaped a possible death penalty. 

Indonesia has some of the world’s toughest anti-narcotics laws. People caught smuggling more than five grams of some controlled substances can be sentenced to death.

Said’s lawyer Daniar Trisasongko said his client was still considering whether to appeal.

“The verdict is too stern considering my client was unaware he was carrying drugs. We will study it further before deciding the next step,” Trisasongko told AFP.

Foreigners are frequently arrested for attempting to smuggle narcotics into Bali, a popular holiday destination famed for its palm-fringed beaches.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo launched a tough campaign against narcotics use in 2014, which culminated in the execution by firing squad last year of seven foreign drug convicts including two Australians.

But the move drew worldwide condemnation, and the government has since shown little sign of preparing for more executions, saying it is focused on fixing the economy.

Source: Press Trust of India, March 28, 2016

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