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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…

India: President Pranab Mukherjee rejects mercy petitions of three more death-row convicts, taking his tally of rejections to 37

President Pranab Mukherjee
Indian President Pranab Mukherjee
President Pranab Mukherjee rejected on August 7 mercy petitions from three death-row convicts, Shabnam, Jasvir Singh and Vikram Singh. 

The information about these rejections was uploaded on the website of the President’s secretariat only today. 

While Shabnam’s mercy petition was received in President’s Secretariat from the Ministry of Home Affairs, on March 31, those of Jasvir Singh and Vikram Singh were received on June 23. 

Shabnam, along with her husband, Salim were co-accused in a murder case, that was tried against them on the allegations that they had committed murders of seven persons who were the members of Shabnam’s family during 14-15 April, 2008. 

Their death sentences were confirmed by the Supreme Court on May 15, 2015. 

Shabnam is lodged in Moradabad jail, while Salim is in Agra jail. Their only child, delivered by Shabnam in jail, has been given in adoption. 

Jasvir Singh and Vikram Singh, now in Patiala Central jail, were convicted and sentenced to death, for the murder of 16-year-old school boy, Abhi Verma, in 2005. 

The Supreme Court commuted Jasvir Singh’s wife, Sonia’s sentence to life term in the same case in January 2010. 

In August last year, a three-member Bench headed by Justice TS Thakur dismissed their appeal, challenging the validity of Section 364A of the IPC, that provides for death penalty for the crime of kidnapping someone for ransom.

Source: Live Law, August 14, 2016.

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