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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…

Indonesia: Prosecutor objects to case review appeal filed by drug kingpin

Freddy Budiman (center, white hat), a drug trafficker sentenced to death in
Indonesia, is scheduled to be executed in the next round of executions.
Prosecutor Anton Suhartono objected to a case review appeal filed by Freddy Budiman, a death-row drug convict, and his lawyer at a second hearing at the Cilacap District Court in Cilacap, Central Java, on Wednesday.

The prosecutor objected to Freddy’s appeal because no new evidence or witnesses had been found.

“It is the Supreme Court that will make the final ruling in the case based on the case review request,” said Anton.

During the hearing, Freddy’s lawyer, Untung Sunaryo, reiterated arguments used in his first appeal hearing.

Untung urged the panel of judges to free Freddy from the death penalty, saying his client’s guilt was the same as that of his accomplices.

“None of his accomplices were sentenced to death,” the lawyer said.

The Jakarta Police arrested Freddy on April 28, 2011 for attempting to smuggle 1.4 million ecstasy pills into the country from China. The West Jakarta District Court sentenced him to death in a trial held five months after his arrest.

Freddy began his sentence at the Cipinang narcotics prison on November 2012. In July 2013, he was found to be selling drugs from his cell and moved to Batu prison on Nusakambangan prison island.

In his first appeal hearing at the the Cilacap District Court on May 25, Freddy pleaded for a lesser sentence. He promised not to sell drugs and to repent and to ask God for forgiveness.

Before the second hearing on Wednesday, the Anti-Narcotics National Movement ( Granat ) central executive board called on the Attorney General’s Office ( AGO ) not to delay the execution of drug convicts on death row. Granat also asked the Supreme Court to reject Freddy's appeal.

“We don’t believe the promises he [Freddy] made during his first hearing,” Granat deputy chairman Ashar Suryobroto said at a media conference in Purwokerto, Central Java, on Tuesday.

Ashar said the death sentence was needed to save the younger generation because drug dealers threatened the lives of millions of youth.

“Granat outright rejects the case review appeal filed by Freddy and hope law enforcers maintain a high moral commitment,” said Ashar, adding that the executions of drug traffickers must be immediately conducted.

“Granat stays consistent in its belief that the carrying out of death sentences, which are inkracht [final and legally binding], is an inseparable part of our justice system,” he went on.

Ashar further said that by delaying the executions, the state allowed death-row drug inmates to continue to sell drugs from their cells.

Ashar voiced hoped that Indonesians, especially law enforcers, would not be fooled by changes that drug traffickers made to their physical appearance because it was likely just a ploy to avoid the death sentence.

He was referring to Freddy’s latest change to his physical appearance, when he turned up at court for his first appeal hearing wearing Muslim attire and sporting a long beard.

Last year, Freddy was reported to have joined the Islamic State ( IS ) terrorist group following his association with several terror convicts on Nusakambangan.

Ashar said drug trafficking was a dangerous crime. “Indonesians are all waiting to see Freddy included in the third round of executions. More convicts will be executed because President Jokowi has rejected the appeals of 64 death-row drug inmates. The state must not lose to drug criminals,” said Ashar.

Source: Jakarta Post, June 1, 2016

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