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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…

Iran commutes death sentences of six juvenile offenders

Iran: Medieval and barbaric punishments
Iran: Medieval and barbaric punishments
UN says Iran executing people who had committed crimes as children at ‘an unprecedented rate’

Tehran: Iran has commuted death sentences against six juvenile offenders following UN criticism it was executing people who had committed crimes as children at “an unprecedented rate”, a report said on Thursday.

Prosecutors asked the judiciary to reconsider 10 cases, the Shahrvand newspaper quoted Tehran chief prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi as saying.

“Six requests were accepted and their death sentences overturned,” he said.

International conventions outlaw the death penalty for offences committed by minors but Iranian law allows executions of those convicted of such offences once they reach 18.

However, it also allows for death sentences to be commuted to compensation to victims’ families if it is determined that the juvenile offenders did not understand the full gravity of their actions.

Shahrvand did not specify what the judiciary decided in the other four cases referred to it.

Last week, UN human rights experts appealed to Iran to cancel the looming execution of Hamid Ahmadi who was 17 when he was sentenced to death in 2009 for the fatal stabbing of a young man during a fight.

They said that last month they intervened to halt the execution of another juvenile offender, and that they had learnt too late that two others were hanged on January 15 and 18.

Source: Agence France-Presse, February 9, 2017

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