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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…

Arkansas teenager charged in infant's death; he tried to revive daughter by shocking her with extension cord, police say

Tyler Buchanan
A 19-year-old man is scheduled to go before a Crawford County circuit judge today, charged with smothering his infant daughter then trying to revive her by shocking her with a live extension cord.

Tyler Buchanan was charged Monday with capital murder in the June 12 death of his 2-month-old baby whom he was trying to stop from screaming so he could sleep, according to court documents.

If convicted of capital murder, Buchanan could face the death penalty or life in prison.

Buchanan remained in the Crawford County jail Tuesday in lieu of $1 million bond. Court records show a public defender was appointed to represent him.

Court records show Buchanan also was charged in December with possession of drug paraphernalia, six counts of theft of property by credit or debit card, breaking or entering and theft of property.

Police were called to 1112 Baldwin St. in Van Buren on the morning of June 12 about a report of an unconscious baby. 

Medical personnel transported the child to Sparks Hospital in Van Buren where she was pronounced dead.

A probable cause affidavit said that during questioning by police, Buchanan initially said the baby awoke about 5:30 a.m. that day and that he fed her a bottle and she went back to sleep. 

Buchanan woke later to find the baby not breathing, and he cut off the end of an extension cord and attempted to use it to shock her back to life, according to the affidavit.

Buchanan later admitted to holding the baby's head against his shoulder to stop her from breathing because she was screaming and he wanted to go to sleep, the affidavit said. He told officers he knew what he was doing was wrong.

He also admitted that he smothered the child about 2 a.m. but never called for help, the affidavit said. 

Help was not summoned until about 9 a.m. when the baby's mother awoke, found Buchanan holding the baby and he told her the baby was not breathing. 

The baby's mother called 911.

Source: Arkansas Online, Dave Hughes, July 11, 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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