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Will the Supreme Court Kill The Death Penalty This Term?

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Will the U.S. Supreme Court add the fate of the death penalty to a term already fraught with hot-button issues like partisan gerrymandering, warrantless surveillance, and a host of contentious First Amendment disputes?
That’s the hope of an ambitious Supreme Court petition seeking to abolish the ultimate punishment. But it runs headlong into the fact that only two justices have squarely called for a reexamination of the death penalty’s constitutionality.
Abel Hidalgo challenges Arizona’s capital punishment system—which sweeps too broadly, he says, because the state’s “aggravating factors” make 99 percent of first-degree murderers death-eligible—as well as the death penalty itself, arguing it’s cruel and unusual punishment.
He’s represented by former acting U.S. Solicitor General Neal Katyal—among the most successful Supreme Court practitioners last term. Hidalgo also has the support of several outside groups who filed amicus briefs on his behalf, notably one from a group including Ari…

India: President Pranab Mukherjee rejects mercy plea of 2 convicts of Jharkhand massacre

The mercy plea of 2 convicts, who killed 8 members of a family including a physically disabled youth in Jharkhand nearly 9 years ago, has been rejected by President Pranab Mukherjee.

The President has rejected the plea of the convicts-- Mofil Khan and Mobarak Khan, officials said today. 

The duo had in June 2007 killed Haneef Khan with sharp-edged weapons when he was offering prayers at a mosque in Makandu village under Lohardaga district in the state. After killing him, they murdered his wife and his 6 sons which included the disabled youth. 

A case was registered by the local police against Mofil and Mobarak and 2 other assailants. Following the probe, a local court there had given death sentence to all the accused. However, the Jharkhand High Court had upheld death penalty to Mofil and Mubarak and modified the sentence to life term for the 2 others.

The Supreme Court in its final judgement in October 2014 also upheld the death penalty given to the convicts. 

A mercy petition was then filed before the President through the Home Ministry. The plea, which was received in December last year at the Presidents secretariat, seeking mercy has been rejected by Mukherjee, they said.

After taking over as the President in July 2012, Mukherjee has rejected 26 mercy pleas so far including those of 26/11 terror case convict Ajmal Kasab and 1993 blast case convict Yakub Memon. 

The death sentence in 2 cases has been commuted to life by the President. 2 mercy petitions of Jeetendra Gehlaut alias Jeetu, convicted for killing 5 women and 2 children during a robbery in Maharashtra, and Shabnam, who was convicted for killing 7 members of her family at Amroha in Uttar Pradesh, are pending with the President.

Source: India Today, June 23, 2016

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