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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…

Notorious killer on California's death row found unconscious in cell, dies

Gilbert Rubio
Gilbert Rubio
A notorious killer on San Quentin's death row died after being found unconscious in his cell early Thursday, prison officials said.

The Marin County coroner will now work to determine how 55-year-old Gilbert Rubio died after correctional officers found him unresponsive during a security check just after 6 a.m.

Rubio was sentenced to die on Sept. 20, 2000 for the 1998 murder and robbery of high school vice principal George "Skipper" Blackwell in his Long Beach home.

He was convicted of 1st-degree murder with the special circumstance of robbery and burglary by a Los Angeles County jury.

Rubio and 2 others, 59-year-old Monica Chavez and Alex Vega, 61, robbed and bound Blackwell during a home-invasion robbery on Jan. 12, 1998.

During the robbery, Chavez and Vega left the home to cash a $2,000 check written by Blackwell. When his 2 accomplices left, Rubio shot and killed his victim.

Chavez was sentenced to life without parole and remains incarcerated at the Central California Women's Facility in Chowchilla. Vega was sentenced to life without parole and remains locked up at the California State Prison in Corcoran.

Avoiding execution by perishing from other means is all but certain in San Quentin, the state's only death row.

Since the Legislature re-enacted the death penalty in 1978, 13 inmates have been executed while more than 100 have died from other means.

No one has been executed at the prison for nearly a decade after U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel of San Jose ruled the state's protocol for capital punishment was badly flawed.

There are 747 people on California's death row.

Source: sfgate.com, June 17, 2016

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