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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…

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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