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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…

Philippines: Duterte vows to bring back death penalty

Rodrigo Duterte
Rodrigo Duterte
Philippines President-elect Rodrigo Duterte has vowed to reintroduce capital punishment and give security forces permission to shoot to kill.

The controversial policies are the latest in a series from the soon-to-be leader, including bans on alcohol and smoking and a curfew for children.

He has also promised to turn the presidential palace into a hospital.

Mr Duterte was nicknamed "The Punisher" for his record as the crime-crushing mayor of the southern town of Davao.

More than 1,000 criminals were killed by security forces in Davao during Mr Duterte's stewardship.

Speaking at a press conference in the town, Mr Duterte, 71, said: "What I will do is to urge Congress to restore the death penalty by hanging."

He said permission to shoot to kill would be given for organised crime figures and people resisting arrest.

Mr Duterte courted controversy throughout his election campaign, threatening to kill drug dealers and dump them in Manila Bay.

He vowed to give himself and members of the security forces immunity from prosecution after leaving office, saying: "Pardon given to Rodrigo Duterte for the crime of multiple murder, signed Rodrigo Duterte."

Last month a video emerged showing the candidate joking about an Australian woman who was raped and murdered in Davao while he was mayor, saying she was so beautiful "the mayor should have been 1st".

In 2015, Human Rights Watch described Mr Duterte as the "death squad mayor" for his strong-arm tactics in Davao.

Source: BBC news, May 15, 2016

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