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Will the Supreme Court Kill The Death Penalty This Term?

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Will the U.S. Supreme Court add the fate of the death penalty to a term already fraught with hot-button issues like partisan gerrymandering, warrantless surveillance, and a host of contentious First Amendment disputes?
That’s the hope of an ambitious Supreme Court petition seeking to abolish the ultimate punishment. But it runs headlong into the fact that only two justices have squarely called for a reexamination of the death penalty’s constitutionality.
Abel Hidalgo challenges Arizona’s capital punishment system—which sweeps too broadly, he says, because the state’s “aggravating factors” make 99 percent of first-degree murderers death-eligible—as well as the death penalty itself, arguing it’s cruel and unusual punishment.
He’s represented by former acting U.S. Solicitor General Neal Katyal—among the most successful Supreme Court practitioners last term. Hidalgo also has the support of several outside groups who filed amicus briefs on his behalf, notably one from a group including Ari…

Indonesia: Convicted Filipina drug mule Mary Jane Veloso pleads for help from Duterte

Mary Jane Veloso
Mary Jane Veloso
"I know you have a good heart. You are a parent as well. Even if my family is poor, I will not be involved in illegal drugs. Even if they put me behind bars. I cannot accept these accusations because I am innocent. I am innocent. I am innocent."

These were the words of Mary Jane Veloso as she begged for the assistance of President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday through a recorded voice message from her family on July 31.

The 31-year-old Cabanatuan native is currently on death row in Indonesia on drug trafficking charges. She was scheduled to be executed in April last year but was granted a reprieve following an international outcry to spare her life.

As evidenced by her cracking voice, the sobbing Veloso pleaded for her freedom from the president, who is notorious for his approach in eradicating the illegal drug trade in the country.

"Beloved President of the Philippines. This is Mary Jane," the former domestic helper said in her plea.

"I've been suffering here in Indonesia for too long. I've had to endure a lot in my life and despite being poor, I am a God-fearing person," she said.

The past administration's efforts to bargain for Veloso's freedom have remained futile, and she hopes to be free with Duterte's help.

"You're my only hope, dear President. I know you're the only one who could help me," she said.

"I know a lot of people still believe and support me, but you know it works differently here. I need justice, and I badly need it now. I'm begging you," she further said.

Despite being detained since 2010, Veloso remained hopeful that she would receive pardon for a crime she said she didn't commit.

"Even if many doubt my innocence, God won't forget me. He sees everything I'm doing; He knows I've done no wrong," she said.

The president has yet to release a statement on Veloso's plea.

Source: The Jakarta Post, Sept. 3, 2016

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