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Capital Punishment in the United States Explained

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In our Explainer series, Fair Punishment Project lawyers help unpackage some of the most complicated issues in the criminal justice system. We break down the problems behind the headlines - like bail, civil asset forfeiture, or the Brady doctrine - so that everyone can understand them. Wherever possible, we try to utilize the stories of those affected by the criminal justice system to show how these laws and principles should work, and how they often fail. We will update our Explainers monthly to keep them current. Read our updated explainer here.
To beat the clock on the expiration of its lethal injection drug supply, this past April, Arkansas tried to execute 8 men over 1 days. The stories told in frantic legal filings and clemency petitions revealed a deeply disturbing picture. Ledell Lee may have had an intellectual disability that rendered him constitutionally ineligible for the death penalty, but he had a spate of bad lawyers who failed to timely present evidence of this claim -…

India: President converts 4 tribals' death sentences to life terms

President Pranab Mukherjee
President Pranab Mukherjee
President Pranab Mukherjee has disposed of all mercy petitions of death penalties pending before him till date.

The latest was the case of Bara massacre accused of Gaya district, where 32 Bhumihar Brahmins were killed by the Maoist Communist Centre (MCC), a banned outfit.

In 2001, Krishna Mochi along with 3 others, Nanhe Lal Mochi, Bir Kuer Paswan and Dharmendra Sing, alias Dharu Sing, were awarded capital punishments by a sessions court in connection with the massacre.

They were tried under the provisions of Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act. In 2002, the Supreme Court upheld the death penalty by a majority of 2:1 in a 3-judge Bench. Justice M B Shah differed from the view of the majority. He acquitted Sing and commuted the death sentences of the 3 others to life.

All the 4 convicts have been lodged at Bhagalpur Central Jail. Their mercy petitions were dispatched from the jail on March 2, 2003. Since then, it was pending with the Union Home Ministry. Only in the month of August last year, the Home Ministry sent the mercy petition to President Mukherjee for his consideration.

The President sought legal opinion on the matter because of a recent landmark judgment of the Apex Court which overturned an earlier judgment and drew a distinction between murders related to terrorism and other kinds of murders.

After considering the merit of the case carefully, the President endorsed the view of the dissenting judge except for the acquittal of the accused. In the month of January this year, the President reduced the death sentences of those convicts to life imprisonment. This was the last mercy petition pending before him. During his tenure, President Mukherjee has accepted 4 mercy petitions and rejected 28.

Among them were high profile cases including dreaded Pakistan terrorists Ajmal Kasab, Yakub Abdul Razak Memon and Afzal Guru of Jammu and Kashmir which drew international interest and was debated widely.

Source: milleniumpost.in, January 15, 2017

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