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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…

Kenya to abolish death penalty

Nairobi, Kenya
Nairobi, Kenya
The death penalty in Kenya could be abolished by 2019.

Chief State Counsel Emily Chweya has said the government is set to undertake public awareness on the need to abolish death penalty before implementation in 2019.

Chweya said this follows recommendations given to the government in January 2015 after Kenya's human rights performance was reviewed by state delegations in Geneva.

"The government will undertake public perception survey on the need for the abolition of the death penalty before a review of the perception is made", she said.

"In efforts by the government to abolish the penalty, we intend to amend the provisions of the penal code for abolition which will be adopted before 2019," Chweya said.

She said the process will be measured by the number of sensitization forums held, findings of the public perception survey and the adoption of the revised penal code.

Chweya said the state delegations had also recommended that the government conforms the juvenile justice system to be in accordance with international standards so as to "prevent children from being legally accountable".

"Our immediate indicators is to have Children's Act reviewed and enacted to increase the age of criminal responsibility from 8 to 12 years despite incorporating the juvenile justice systems," Chweya said.

She reiterated their action plan was to enact and operationalize the legal aid act by establishing and funding the National Legal Aid Service Board.

Source: The Star, June 3, 2016

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