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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…

‘El Chapo’ extradition to US halted by Mexico judge over death penalty fears

 Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman
Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman
A judge in Mexico temporarily blocked the extradition of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to the US after his lawyers appealed the move over fears that the infamous drug cartel leader might face the death penalty.

Guzman’s extradition request was suspended Tuesday after two injunctions were filed by his lawyers. He is set to face murder and drug smuggling charges in the US.

The judge granted a stay on the drug kingpin’s extradition until appeals can be heard. 

For now, “El Chapo” will be held in a maximum security jail near the US border.

Jose Refugio Rodriguez, one of Guzman’s lawyers, told the Associated Press that the appeals are based on the statute of limitations on some of the charges as well as their contention that some of the accusations against Guzman are based on hearsay rather than direct evidence.

The Mexican Foreign Ministry approved Guzman’s extradition when the US guaranteed that Guzman would not face the death penalty. 

Mexico has abolished capital punishment and will not extradite its citizens if they could face execution.

Guzman was arrested in January following 13 years of evading law enforcement after escaping prison.

Source: AP, June 29, 2016

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