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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…

Turkey “holds a different status in terms of its moral values”: Erdoğan

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said the government was wrong to shelve an attempt to criminalize adultery and extra-marital sex (zina) in 2004, an issue that caused a major row between Turkey and the EU during accession talks at the time.

“This society holds a different status in terms of its moral values,” Erdoğan said at the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) weekly parliamentary group meeting in Ankara on Feb. 20.

“This is self-criticism. I must say that in the EU process we made a mistake ... We should now evaluate making regulations about adultery and perhaps consider it together with the issue of harassment and others,” he added.

“This is an issue where Turkey is different from most Western countries,” Erdoğan said.

The president also went on to signal that the death penalty could once again be brought to the agenda.

“Of course, the death penalty is not currently legal. But the issue of the death penalty is especially important for us due to its relationship to terror. Changes in the constitution about this could come up,” he said.

A so-called “adultery law” had come onto the agenda in 2004 as part of a package of sweeping changes to the penal code, which also included the abolition of torture. Many of the changes were seen as an attempt to bring Turkey’s legal code into line with European human rights legislation, but the “adultery law” drew outrage both within Turkey and abroad.

Under huge pressure from the EU, Ankara back-pedaled from the bill in September 2004.

Adultery had been illegal in Turkey until 1996, when the Constitutional Court overturned the law, saying it was unequally applied. Under earlier laws, men were deemed adulterers if they were proven to have been involved in a prolonged affair, while women could be charged if they were unfaithful once.

Source: Hurriyet Daily News, February 20, 2018


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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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