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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…

Japan: Killer of 6-year-old Kobe girl gets death penalty

Yasuhiro Kimino
Yasuhiro Kimino
KOBE – The Kobe District Court on Friday gave the death sentence to a man who killed a 6-year-old girl in the city in 2014.

Yasuhiro Kimino, 49, lured the first-grader to his home by asking her to sit for a painting. He then strangled and stabbed her, dismembered her body and placed it in plastic bags, prosecutors say.

The prosecutors sought the death penalty, saying Kimino showed a brutal disregard for human life.

Kimino was charged with abduction for obscene purposes, murder, damage to a corpse and abandoning a corpse.

In their closing arguments outlined at Kobe District Court, the prosecutors termed Kimino’s criminal motivation “selfish,” saying there was no reason to spare the defendant from the death sentence as he had “a strong propensity to crime and it would be very difficult to correct him.”

The defendant admitted killing the girl and dismembering and abandoning her body in the first hearing of his trail Monday, but denied he abducted her for the purpose of molesting her.

The girl’s mother told the court Thursday she would never forgive the man.

The victim went missing after she returned home from elementary school in Kobe on Sept. 11, 2014, and her dismembered body was found on Sept. 23.

Police arrested Kimino, who lived locally, the following day.

The case was tried by presiding Judge Takeshi Samo, two other professional judges and six lay judges.

Source: The Japan Times, March 18, 2016

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