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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…

Iran conditions death penalty for drug offenses

Watching a public execution in Iran
Back to the Middle Ages: Watching a public execution in Iran.
TEHRAN, Mar. 13 (MNA) – Capital punishment will be removed for all drug-related offenses with the exception of 3 cases, vice-chairman of Parliament’s Judiciary Committee told MNA on Sunday.

MP Yahya Kamalipour told MNA that the judiciary needs to report to the Parliament the figures related to those sentenced to death and the severity of their crimes, after which the Parliament would be able to make the necessary decisions on revising the bill on capital punishment.

“At the moment, it is reported that those carrying methamphetamine, crack cocaine and derivatives of heroin up to one kilogram will be sentenced to death, but one should note that this will increase the number of offenders on the death row,” he added.

Noting that 80 per cent of inmates currently imprisoned on drug-related charges have carried over one kilogram of drugs, he said “it was decided that the judiciary should announce the accurate figures of drug offenders sentenced to death and the amount of drugs they had been carrying at the time so that we would know how many offenders would be charged with capital punishment based on this.”

“In the main clause of the revision plan, it is noted that capital punishment for drug offenses will be removed with the exception of 3 cases,” he said. “For example, if the offenders have been armed while carrying drugs, or if they had been imprisoned for more than ten years, or if the case is related to organized crime, they will get the death penalty.”

According to Javad Larijani, the secretary general of Iranian High Council for Human Rights, 90 per cent of the executions carried out in Iran are related to drug-trafficking crimes; therefore, a revision of the existing laws would dramatically decrease the number of executions in the country.

Source: Mehr News Agency, March 13, 2017

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