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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…

10 people executed in China for drug trafficking

Chinese police officer
Ten drug dealers were sentenced to death and received immediate executions in South China's Guangdong Province before the UN's International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on June 26, a local court announced on Saturday.

"Ten cases related to drug making and dealing were publicly pronounced at a court of Lufeng and 10 criminals were sentenced to death," according to a statement released by the Intermediate People's Court of Shanwei, which administers Lufeng, on its Weibo account.

Lufeng, with a population of 2 million, was listed as a major area in the fight against drug crimes by the National Narcotics Control Commission since 2011 for its high rate of drug crimes, Nandu Daily reported.

The 10 criminals were escorted to execution immediately after being sentenced to death for manufacturing, distributing and transporting drugs, according to the statement.

One of the criminals, surnamed Fan, purchased 75 tons of ephedra herbs - a raw material for producing crystal methamphetamine - within a month in 2012, out of which he made 50 kilograms of ephedrine which he later sold for 2.2 million yuan ($338,000), said the statement.

Twenty tons of ephedra herbs, 16.4 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine and 33.2 kilograms of semi-finished products were uncovered by police in October 2012 at Fan's drug manufacturing site, together with two shotguns, three self-made pistols and hundreds of bullets.

In December, other suspects were publicly tried and convicted for drug dealing and murder in a sports stadium in front of thousands in the city of Lufeng, sparking wide controversy.

According to China's Criminal Procedure Law, death sentences should be announced but not held in public.

In some places, a public trial is defended as a method to educate the public and showcase the government's hard line against illegal activities.

Source: Global Times, June 25, 2018


10 executed for series of drug crimes


A Chinese police officer lights an inmate's last cigarette shortly before his execution.
Appeals court affirms convictions; Supreme People's Court approves

Ten drug traffickers were executed in Guangdong province on Saturday after an appeals court upheld their earlier conviction and pronounced sentence. The executions were approved by the Supreme People's Court.

Fan Shuixian and nine others were put to death shortly after the Shanwei Intermediate People's Court in Lufeng delivered its decision. The court had already affirmed their convictions in a lower court for producing, owning, trafficking and selling large amounts of illicit drugs.

The sentencing hearing was public. Lufeng is a city under the administration of Shanwei in eastern Guangdong.

Fan was also found guilty of illegally possessing weapons and of illegally extracting about 50 kilograms of drug components from 75 metric tons of ephedrine from September to October 2012.

"Fan earned 1.1 million yuan ($172,000) from selling the ephedrine he extracted, and later mixed 16.4 kilograms of methamphetamine, commonly known as ice, with his ephedrine," the court said.

Police seized 16.4 kg of meth and 33.2 kg of semifinished meth, along with five guns and 126 rounds of ammunition when they raided Fan's drug den and detained him at the end of October 2012.

Others executed on Saturday were Cai Jinxiong, Chen Jinjun, Fan Zhongchao, Hong Liu, Huang Wenze, Cai Chugang, Wu Shenggeng, Li Zhenyu and Zhuang Chengfa. All were convicted of illegally producing, owning and trafficking large amounts of illicit drugs.

A police officer who did not want to be named said the execution of the 10 would help deter others and further promote the anti-drug campaign in Shanwei, once a major meth production base in Guangdong. Meth synthesized in Lufeng once represented more than half the country's total.

Guangdong has been on the front line of China's war against illicit drugs for decades.

This month, Guangdong police announced the shutdown of a number of cross-border drug trafficking channels and distribution centers after a crackdown that handled 4,655 drug offenses and related cases in the first five months of this year.

According to Lin Weixiong, deputy director of the Guangdong Public Security Department, police seized more than 5.4 tons of narcotics between January and May - 5.1 tons more than in the same period last year.

Meanwhile, police detained 5,504 suspects, including suspected foreign drug traffickers, "dealing a heavy blow to drug offenses and related crimes in the province", he said.

In nine operations from Dec 24 to June 5, police in the cities of Foshan, Shenzhen, Dongguan, Jieyang and Shanwei busted a major cross-border drug gang, detaining 39 suspects - including 16 Vietnamese and a Taiwan resident - and seized 4.79 kg of methamphetamine.

Lin said the Guangdong police will continue their zero-tolerance policy toward illicit drugs and related crimes, and promised more campaigns in the months ahead.

Source: ecns.cn, June 25, 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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