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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…

Sri Lankan President commutes death sentences of 83 inmates

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena has decided to commute the death sentences of 83 prisoners who are either on death row or serving life imprisonments. [sic]

President Sirisena has taken the decision to spare the lives of the prisoners based on the recommendations made by a committee appointed following a request by the joint committee of the Ministries of Law and Order and Prisons Reforms and Justice to review the death sentences, reports Lanka Page.

The Commissioner General of Prisons Nishan Danasinghe said they expect more death row inmates to receive the same concession in future.

Although Sri Lankan courts give death penalty in serious crimes such as murder, rape and drug trafficking, no executions have been carried out since 1976.

All death penalty cases have been commuted to life in prison.

Sri Lanka last year decided to vote in favor of a UN resolution for moratorium on death penalty.

Source: Business Standard, April 26, 2016

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