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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…

Thailand: PM Changes His Mind on Death Sentences for Rapists

Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha
Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha
Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha has now decided he does not support calls for the death penalty for rapists.

Only last month he ordered the legal community and judiciary to ensure that convicted rapists are sentenced to death saying, 'foreign countries tackle rape cases by resorting to capital punishment.' He asked 'is it possible in Thailand? The judicial sector must undertake this.'

Since then, and in the wake of the murder of a young teacher in Saraburi, there has been public support for the idea. And calls for the Criminal Code to be amended to reflect this and condemn those guilty of rape to death. But now the Prime Minister says he does not support this idea anymore.

He has explained that many countries have repealed laws such as this as they have been shown not to act as an effective deterrent. 'Let's look at the world around us,' he said. 'Many countries have already abolished the death penalty. They do not 'promote respect for the law and in solving the problem at hand in a sustainable fashion.'

The leader of the Thai military has warned that the death penalty for rape cases may result in an abuse of power and would rather see convicted rapists exposed to social pressures in order to discourage them from committing similar crimes again.

He might have added that long jail sentences could also discourage such repeated offences.

The Deputy Prime Minister, and Defence Minister General, Prawit Wongsuwan, has only said that public opinion and legal counsel from experts will need to be taken into account when a final decision is taken by the National Legislative Assembly.

Source: Pattaya News, July 5, 2016

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