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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…

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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