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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…

Japan: Bar association chief criticizes naming of man sentenced to death

Typical death-row cell, Osaka Prison
Typical death-row cell, Osaka Prison
TOKYO — The head of the Japanese bar association on Friday criticized news organizations that reported the name of a man sentenced to death for a double murder committed when he was a juvenile.

“It is regrettable that the news reports violated the juvenile law, which bans publishing articles and photographs that could identify a juvenile delinquent,” Kazuhiro Nakamoto, president of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, said in a statement.

The statement was issued after the Supreme Court upheld lower court rulings that sentenced to death the man who was 18 when he killed two women and seriously injured a man in 2010.

Major newspapers including the Asahi, Yomiuri and Nikkei, as well as Kyodo News published the man’s name on the grounds that the opportunity for rehabilitation ends when a death penalty is finalized, and the name of a person to be executed by the state should not be kept confidential.

Some other major newspapers, including the Mainichi and the Tokyo Shimbun, reported the Supreme Court decision without revealing the name of the man to be executed, saying the chance for his rehabilitation remains due to the possibility of amnesty or retrial.

Nakamoto said the dignity and the constitutionally guaranteed right to the pursuit of happiness of a minor are not terminated with the finalization of a death sentence.

“While it is needless to say that constitutionally guaranteed freedom of expression is important and it is necessary to report the details of a crime in order to prevent the recurrence of similar incidents, it cannot be said the real name and photo of a minor are indispensable factors for news reports,” the national bar association head said.

Source: Japan Today, June 18, 2016

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