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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…

Pakistan: Man facing death penalty acquitted after 8 years

ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court on Thursday acquitted a man, who was awarded death sentence by a trial and a high court in a murder case, after eight years in prison.

Abdul Baqi was convicted in the killing case of Muhammad Ali in Balochistan in 2009. 

The trial court on the basis of a medical report and witnesses’ statements had awarded him the death sentence. 

Later, the Balochistan High Court upheld Baqi’s death sentence. 

The convict had challenged high court verdict in the Supreme Court.

A three-member bench headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa after hearing the arguments of the prosecution and the defence counsel acquitted Abdul Baqi and set aside the BHC verdict.

The bench observed that there was a contradiction between the medical report and the statements of the prosecution witnesses. 

Justice Khosa said that in the charge-sheet it was written that an axe was recovered from the accused, but later it was added that a ‘blood soaked axe’ was recovered.

The court observed that the prosecution has failed to prove its case and ordered to release Baqi.

Source: The Nation, March 31, 2017

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