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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…

Turkey: Erdogan Renews Call for the Death Penalty

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated his support for the death penalty, saying its reinstatement would fulfill the wishes of the Turkish majority.

At a rally Sunday in the southeastern Turkish city of Gaziantep, Erdogan told hundreds of people his remarks were also directed at members of the Turkish parliament.

"I am now conveying your request once again," Erdogan said of the death penalty. "They should assess this issue and make a decision. I would approve that decision."

Erdogan, who traveled to Gaziantep to express condolences to the families of the 54 people who were killed last weekend at a Kurdish wedding, has pushed to reinstate the death penalty in the wake of last month's failed coup against him.

Erdogan's calls for its reinstatement have become more frequent since the July 15 coup attempt as he carries out a massive purge of those suspected of taking part it in it.

The purge has mostly targeted members of the military, police and intelligence services, journalists, and academics belonging to the outlawed movement headed by cleric Fethullah Gulen, a U.S. resident. Tens of thousands have been arrested or suspended from their jobs.

Amnesty International has urged Erdogan to exercise restraint as he pushes to legalize executions in the country for the first time since 2004. The human rights group has said it is “alarmed” by his calls for capitol punishment, which the group sees as a clear suggestion that the death penalty would be used to punish those responsible for the coup attempt.

More than 200 people were killed in the failed coup, some of them by mutinying soldiers who fired at civilians taking to the streets to stop the coup.

Source: VOA, August 28, 2016

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