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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…

Duterte takes up Veloso’s case with Widodo: 'No urgency as Veloso off execution schedule indefinitely for now'

Rodrigo Duterte, left, and Joko Widodo, right.
Rodrigo Duterte, left, and Joko Widodo, right.
President Rodrigo Duterte took up convicted drug mule Mary Jane Veloso’s case during his tête-à-tête with Indonesia President Joko Widodo at the Istana Merdeka in Jakarta on Friday.

But he refused to give details of their conversation on the fate of Veloso who remained on death row in Indonesia’s prison after being saved a by a last-minute reprieve from her scheduled death by firing squad in May 2015 from an appeal by then President Benigno Aquino III.

“Not for public consumption,” said the President in a short talk with media after concluding his meeting with Widodo.

Pressed on to comment on whether he exchanged notes with Widodo on antidrug measures, the President said: “No, I said that we will continue to respect each other’s judicial processes. The rule of law is what matters, gives order to the community.”

Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. said both governments felt no urgency to take action in the case as she had been taken off the execution schedule indefinitely at the moment.

“This is not an urgent issue as of now, let’s finish the process. Her scheduled execution has been deferred because she would be testifying in the deposition case against her illegal recruiter. After prosecuting the illegal recruiter who are the main principals here and if it turns out in the trial in the Philippines that Mary Jane is a victim then at the point we can ask for clemency soon,” said Yasay.

Yasay is hopeful that the case against the illegal recruiter of Veloso, who was caught with 2.5 kilograms of cocaine inside the lining of her bag at the Indonesian airport in 2010, will be resolved in a year’s time.

In the meantime, Yasay said Veloso had been allowed to give her deposition in the case pending with the Nueva Ecija Regional Trial court.

Source: inquirer.net, September 9, 2016

Jokowi, Duterte tight-lipped on Veloso


Rodrigo Duterte in Jakarta's State Palace on September 9, 2016
Rodrigo Duterte in Jakarta's State Palace on September 9, 2016
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Friday that the topic of death row inmate Mary Jane Veloso, who was detained by Indonesia for drug trafficking, was not among the subjects being discussed with President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo during his state visit to the country.

After a joint press statement at the State Palace, Duterte told reporters that Veloso's issue was not for public consumption.

"We agree to respect each other's judicial processes. The rule of law is what matters," Duterte told reporters after a joint press statement at the State Palace.

Philippine national Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso had been excluded from the list of the third round of executions prepared by the Attorney General's Office (AGO) in April, as legal procedures continued in a separate but related case in her country.

Veloso was on the execution list last year but was granted a stay of execution because her alleged boss had been arrested in the Philippines. The authorities there requested Indonesian assistance in pursuing the case.

Jokowi held a welcome ceremony in the afternoon, after taking Duterte on his famous blusukan (impromptu visit) to Tanah Abang textile market in Central Jakarta to give an example of how Indonesia manages social issues directly from the field, which was followed by a bilateral meeting.

Source: Jakarta Post, September 9, 2016

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