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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…

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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