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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…

Japan: Death penalty to stand for woman convicted of murdering 2 men

Miyuki Ueta
Miyuki Ueta
TOKYO -- The death sentence given to a woman convicted of murdering two men in the western Japan prefecture of Tottori in 2009 is set to be finalized after the Supreme Court upheld lower court rulings Thursday.

The top court said in its ruling that the defendant carried out the premeditated and "cruel crimes based on firm intentions to kill" and she bears "grave criminal responsibility."

According to the lower court rulings, Miyuki Ueta, a 43-year-old former bar worker, drugged truck driver Kazumi Yabe, 47, and drowned him in the sea in April 2009 and she drugged and drowned in a river electronics store owner Hideki Maruyama, 57, in October of the same year.

Ueta, who owed money to both victims, maintained her innocence and the verdicts were based mainly on circumstantial evidence, including that Ueta was the last person to meet with the men before they went missing and she obtained sleeping pills beforehand.

In coming to his decision, judge Koike concluded that Ueta was the last point of contact for both victims; put the victims to sleep with drug-filled concoctions just before their deaths; and committed the crimes to escape from debts.

The defense had argued that it was impossible for Ueta to bring drugged men to the crime scenes herself.

In 2012, Ueta was sentenced to death by the Tottori District Court. Two years later, the Hiroshima High Court rejected an appeal by the defense.

Source: Japan Today, July 27, 2017

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