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Will the U.S. Finally End the Death Penalty?

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In the past, abolition efforts have faced a backlash—but Gavin Newsom’s moratorium may be different.
The American death penalty is extraordinarily fragile, with death sentences and executions on the decline. Public support for the death penalty has diminished. The practice is increasingly marginalized around the world. California, with its disproportionately large share of American death-row inmates, announces an end to the death penalty. The year? 1972. That’s when the California Supreme Court declared the death penalty inconsistent with the state’s constitutional prohibition of cruel or unusual punishments—only to have the death penalty restored a year later through popular initiative and legislation.
On Wednesday, again, California walked back its commitment to the death penalty. Though not full-fledged abolition, Governor Gavin Newsom declared a moratorium on capital punishment lasting as long as his tenure in office, insisting that the California death penalty has been an “abject…

South Dakota: Defenders Seek $350,000 for South Dakota Death Penalty Case

SOUTH DAKOTA - The Pennington County Public Defender's Office is asking the county for about $350,000 to help defend a man facing the death penalty for the alleged murder of his ex-girlfriend.

The Rapid City Journal reports that the extra costs in Jonathon Klinetobe's case involve expert evaluations, travel expenses and witness fees.

The 27-year-old Klinetobe, of Sturgis, is charged with first-degree murder for the stabbing death of Jessica Rehfeld. 

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Klinetobe and Richard Hirth, an alleged accomplice.

Eric Whitcher, director of the public defender's office, says it's a complex issue and death penalty cases are "extremely expensive." 

He could not elaborate because of a judge's gag order.

Authorities say they believe Rehfeld's May 2015 death was a contract killing. 

Her body was discovered last summer.

Source: Associated Press, June 25, 2017

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