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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…

Manila lawmaker files bill reviving death penalty

Philippine police officers
Philippine police officers
A member of the House of Representatives from Metro Manila filed the first bill for the revival of the controversial death penalty in support of the vow of President Rodrigo "Rody" Duterte to stamp out corruption and rampant criminality especially illegal drugs "in 3 to 6 months."

Congressman Ruffy Biazon of Muntinlupa City in Metro Manila said his bill sought to amend the law banning the imposition of capital punishment which Congress had passed in 2004.

"Filing the bill ahead will give the bill (an advantage) so it could be referred to the (appropriate) House committee and hopefully, taken up ahead in its agenda," Biazon pointed out.

Biazon was among the 90 House members who filed their pet bills on the first day of the filing on Thursday before the House and the Senate would open the 16th Congress on July 25 for a joint session to hear Duterte deliver his first state-of-nation address.

Duterte strongly urged the revival of the death penalty to strengthen his vow for an all-out war on corruption and rampant criminality especially illegal drugs which, he warned, were destroying particularly the youth of the land.

But even before Congress could act on its revival, officials said an intensified police campaign resulted in the death of more than 60 suspected "drug lords" and dealers since the May 9 election.

On Friday, police reported that at least 8 more "major" drug dealers - 6 from Bulacan in Central Luzon and 1 each from Sorsogon in the Bicol Region and Negros Oriental in the Visayas - were killed in "shoot-outs" a day after Duterte took his oath as the country's 16th president.

Duterte pressed for the restoration of the death penalty despite strong opposition from Pope Francis as well as local human rights advocates led by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). Without referring to any country, Pope Francis warned against the return of capital punishment in his recent message sent to an international conference against its revival which was hosted by Oslo in Norway.

The Philippine Congress abolished the death penalty and replaced it with life imprisonment which was imposed on "heinous" crimes like plunder, illegal drugs, murder, kidnap-for-ransom, robbery-homicide and rape.

Source: The Gulf Today, July 2, 2016

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