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Capital Punishment in the United States Explained

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In our Explainer series, Fair Punishment Project lawyers help unpackage some of the most complicated issues in the criminal justice system. We break down the problems behind the headlines - like bail, civil asset forfeiture, or the Brady doctrine - so that everyone can understand them. Wherever possible, we try to utilize the stories of those affected by the criminal justice system to show how these laws and principles should work, and how they often fail. We will update our Explainers monthly to keep them current. Read our updated explainer here.
To beat the clock on the expiration of its lethal injection drug supply, this past April, Arkansas tried to execute 8 men over 1 days. The stories told in frantic legal filings and clemency petitions revealed a deeply disturbing picture. Ledell Lee may have had an intellectual disability that rendered him constitutionally ineligible for the death penalty, but he had a spate of bad lawyers who failed to timely present evidence of this claim -…

Philippines: Death penalty bill gets House priority

Incoming Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has said that the proposal to restore death penalty in the country will be a priority of the 17th Congress.

Alvarez has filed his House Bill No. 1 which seeks to re-impose death penalty on "heinous crimes", such as human trafficking, illegal recruitment, plunder, treason, parricide, infanticide, rape, qualified piracy and bribery, kidnapping and illegal detention, robbery with violence against or intimidation of persons, car theft, destructive arson, terrorism and drug-related cases.

"There is evidently a need to reinvigorate the war against criminality by reviving a proven deterrent coupled by its consistent, persistent and determined implementation, and this need is as compelling and critical as any," Alvarez said in his HB No. 1.

"The imposition of the death penalty for heinous crimes and the mode of its implementation, both subjects of repealed laws, are crucial components of an effective dispensation of both reformative and retributive justice," the bill stated.

Republic Act 7659 or the Death Penalty Law was abolished in 1986 during the term of Former President Corazon Aquino. It was restored by former President Fidel V. Ramos in 1993, and was suspended again in 2006 by then president and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

President Rodrigo Duterte has said he would want the capital punishment by hanging reimposed. Duterte also vowed to carry out at least 50 executions a month to serve as a strong deterrent against criminality.

Alvarez lamented that the rise of criminality in the country has reached at an "alarming proportion" and so the government must do an "all-out offensive against all forms of felonious acts."

Alvarez's bill was co-authored by Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro which proposes death penalty by lethal injection.

"Our criminal justice system has been emasculated in no small measure by the non-deterrent nature of impossible penalties on the most depraved violations of human life, honor and dignity," Alvarez pointed out.

"The basic tenets of equity and justice demand that our penal system be one not only of reformation but corresponding retribution," Castro, for his part, said.

Earlier, Muntinlupa Rep. Rufino Biazon filed a similar measure even as he expressed concern over the illegal drugs problem as well as the rising criminality in the country.

"Our own experience has shown that incarceration does not deter one who is convicted of drug trafficking from committing the same crime. There have been instances where the convicted trafficker continues to deal in the illegal drug trade even behind bars," he added.

Biazon stressed that it is provided in the 1987 Constitution on death penalty "under certain circumstances and based on the current wisdom of the times."

"This is to put back into the consciousness of those involved in the illegal drugs trade that the ultimate punishment of death awaits them should they continue with their nefarious acts," Biazon said.

Source: The Standard, July 8, 2016


Death Penalty for treason: Law proposed

Death Penalty through lethal injection is being proposed for those who will commit treason. A Filipino who levies war against the Philippines or adheres to her enemies shall be punished by reclusion perpetua to death, and shall pay a fine of up to P100,000, Senator Panfilo Lacson proposes in a bill.

"Hence, to reinstate public order and the rule of law, there is an impending need to revisit and re-impose the death penalty on certain heinous crimes which as ratiocinated by R.A. 7659 or the Death Penalty Law, 'is appropriately necessary due to the alarming upsurge of such crimes which has resulted not only in the loss of human lives and wanton destruction of property but also affected the nation's efforts towards sustainable economic development and prosperity while at the same time has undermined the people's faith in the Government and the latter's ability to maintain peace and order in the country,'" Lacson said.

In Lacson's proposed law, Qualified piracy, Qualified Bribery, Parricide, Murder, Infanticide, Rape (with some circumstances), Kidnapping and serious illegal detention (with some circumstances), Robbery with violence against or intimidation of persons, Destructive Arson, Plunder, Terrorism, Drug-related cases, Carnapping, Trafficking in persons, Illegal recruitmen (with some circumstances) are also punishable by death penalty.

Lacson assured he will listen to arguments for and against the death penalty bill during public hearings in the Senate.

If enacted, the death sentence shall be carried out not later than one year after the judgment has become final and executory, but is without prejudice to the exercise by the President of the executive clemency powers at all times.

Source: update.ph, July 8, 2016

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