America Is Stuck With the Death Penalty for (At Least) a Generation

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…

UAE: Verdict in boy’s rape and murder case on November 27

Abu Dhabi courts
Boy’s father tells court that he wants death penalty for the accused

ABU DHABI: The Abu Dhabi Criminal Court will pronounce its final judgement in the rape and murder case of an 11-year-old boy on November 27.

Hearing in the case against the Pakistani man accused of raping and killing his nephew during Ramadan resumed on Tuesday.

The presiding judge of the Abu Dhabi Criminal Court asked the boy’s father whether he would like to press for punishment for the accused instead of the death penalty, and the father responded, “No, I want death sentence for the killer of my son”.

The boy, Azan Majid Janjua, went missing in the last week of May and his body was found on his building’s rooftop on the morning of May 30 when an AC technician went to the area to check a malfunctioning chiller.

The court heard repeated claims by the defence lawyer of his client being wrongly framed by CID police of Abu Dhabi and Public Prosecutors.

In the past five hearing sessions, the accused and his counsel failed to produce any concrete evidence to prove the former’s innocence while the CID officers and prosecutors produced evidence including CCTV footage, a mental evaluation report and video recordings.

On Tuesday, the presiding judge asked the accused for his submissions in the case. The accused responded, “The CID officers recorded [my] statements and video under duress. They slapped me so hard that one of my teeth broke.”

The accused said the police fabricated evidence: “I didn’t wear an abaya to disguise my identity but the police forced me to wear [one] after which they videographed me.” He denied claims by Public Prosecution and CID [of his involvement in the killing].

In response to the judge’s inquiry of any more submissions, the accused said he wanted to meet with the boy’s parents and was told by the judge that he would have to make a formal request through the jail authorities and the Public Prosecution and that the court had nothing to do with that.

Hassan Mattar Al Riyami, the defence counsel appointed by the court, requested the judge to re-consider the defendant’s case, claiming that the accused had been wrongly implicated.

Al Riyami told the court on Tuesday that the defendant was not in Abu Dhabi at the time of the crime but was at his workplace in Musaffah on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi. All narratives of the Public Prosecution, he said, were based on the observations of the building security guards and people’s speculation as nobody was present at the scene of the crime.

Al Riyami insisted that his client was innocent and be freed of all charges. He also urged the parents to opt for punishment for the accused instead of demanding death penalty.

Dr Majid Janjua [father of Azan] had told Gulf News earlier that Azan was fasting and had gone to the mosque for afternoon prayers and Quran recitation and then went missing. Some neighbours saw the boy returning from the mosque but he never reached home.

Azan was Dr Janjua’s first son born to his first wife whom he met while studying medicine in Russia. As part of a mutual agreement between parents, Azan started living with his father around two-and-a-half years ago.

The boy’s father is a Pakistani and mother a Russian. The mother, who used to visit her son in Abu Dhabi, was in the city when the tragedy occurred.

In the previous hearing, the prosecutor asked the court to impose death penalty on the accused who they termed as a “merciless beast”.

Source: Gulf News, October 31, 2017

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but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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