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…

Two Brothers Sentenced to Death for Honor Killing of Pregnant Sister in Jordan

Jordan women
The Court of Cassation upheld a January Criminal Court ruling sentencing two brothers to death after convicting them of murdering their pregnant sister and her husband’s other wife in Balqa Governorate in November 2014.

The two defendants, aged 22 and 28, were declared guilty by the Criminal Court on two counts of premeditated murder for the fatal shooting of their 27-year-old sister, who was three-months pregnant, and the second woman, 50, at a farm in Balqa, 35 km northwest of Amman, on November 8 and handed them the maximum punishment.

“This verdict is one of several similar tough sentences the Court of Cassation has upheld in recent months after reviewing Criminal Court rulings of murders committed in the name of family honour,” a senior judicial source said.

The judicial source told The Jordan Times that such “tough rulings by the higher court are a clear indication that the justice system will never tolerate such murders”.

Court documents said the two siblings, a shepherd and a restaurant employee, had claimed that they murdered their sister "to cleanse their family honour" because “she was engaged in a relationship with a man three months before the incident and got pregnant”.

"The case was discovered and the two were married to avoid a scandal and resided in a farm some 20km away from where the defendants lived,” according to court transcript.

Nevertheless, the court maintained, “the defendants were not pleased by the outcome and plotted to murder their sister to cleanse the family’s honour”.

On the day of the murder, the court stated, the two victims were in the backyard of their home picking olives when the two defendants “showed up from behind the trees and started shooting at their pregnant sister”.

“The two defendants stated that they only intended to kill their sister and that the second woman was accidentally struck by bullets and died,” the court added.

The two fled the scene and were later arrested by the authorities, the court documents said.

The defendants’ sibling received six bullets to different parts of her body while the woman who was with her was struck and killed by a bullet that hit her back, according to court documents.

The victims’ husband had refused to drop charges against the two defendants.

The defendants contested the Criminal Court’s ruling, arguing that they should benefit from a reduction in penalty because they “committed the murder in a moment of rage”.

“The defendants became enraged after seeing their sister walking in the street and they had never approved the illegitimate relationship that led to the marriage,” the court ruled.

The defendants also claimed that their sister brought them and their “families shame and disgrace and everyone around them were looking down at them with no respect”.

However, the higher court ruled that the Criminal Court followed the proper proceedings when sentencing the defendant deserves the verdict he received.

“It was evident to our court that the defendants plotted the murder because they prepared the weapon and killed their sister almost three months after she was married and the fit of fury clause is not applicable in this case,” the higher court ruled.

The two defendants are “the ones who committed an unlawful act that is against all values resulting in the death of their sister and the other woman,” the Court of Cassation said in its 27-page verdict.

The Court of Cassation judges were Mohammad Ibrahim, Naji Zubi, Yassin Abdullat, Hamad Ghzawi, and Majid Azab.

Source: The Jordan Times, albawaba.com, 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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