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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…

China "strictly controls death penalty:" white paper

Rehearsing execution procedure in China
Rehearsing execution procedure in China
BEIJING, Sept. 12 (Xinhua) -- China strictly controls the death penalty and employs it with prudence, said a white paper on judical protection of human rights issued on Monday.

The white paper, titled "New Progress in the Judicial Protection of Human Rights in China," said China's stand on the death penalty is to ensure that it applies only to a very small number of extremely serious criminal offenders.

China in 2011 adopted the Amendment (VIII) to the Criminal Law which abolishes the death penalty for 13 economy-related, non-violent offenses.

The Amendment (IX) to the Criminal Law, adopted in 2015, also reduced the number of crimes for capital punishment, abolishing the death penalty for nine areas of crime. It also extended the possibility of reprieve in cases of capital sentence.

In death penalty cases, the defendant's right to defense and other legitimate rights and interests are fully protected, as hearings are held for all death penalty cases of second instance, the white paper said.

When the Supreme People's Court reviews a death penalty case, it focuses on interrogating the defendant in accordance with the law, and listening to opinions of the defense counsel, according to the white paper.

It also said China took special actions against human trafficking and made important progress in combating trafficking in women and children.

A mechanism for quickly searching for missing children has been put in place around the country, under which police resources are fully mobilized to quickly find missing children, it said.

A uniform operation of thorough search and investigation for children of unknown origin has been carried out nationwide, in which DNA information of children suspected of being the victims of abduction is collected and recorded into a national DNA database for comparison.

Source: Xinhua, Sept. 12, 2016

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