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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 70th convict this year

Public execution in Saudi Arabia
Public execution in Saudi Arabia
YADH: Saudi Arabia executed a citizen convicted of murder on Sunday, bringing the number of people it has put to death this year to 70.

Alaa al-Zahrani was found guilty of killing fellow Saudi Abdullah al-Sumairi with a rock to the head, the interior ministry said.

He was put to death in the Red Sea city of Jeddah, said a ministry statement carried by the official SPA news agency.

The 70 executions so far this year include 47 death sentences for "terrorism" carried out in a single day on January 2.

Most people sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia are beheaded with a sword.

In 2015, Saudi Arabia executed 153 people, most of them for drug trafficking or murder, according to an AFP count.

Amnesty International says the number of executions in Saudi Arabia last year was the highest for two decades.

However, the tally was far behind those of China and Iran.

The kingdom has a strict Islamic legal code under which murder, drug trafficking, armed robbery, rape, homosexuality and apostasy are all punishable by death.

Source: Agence France-Presse, March 6, 2016

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