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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…

India: More and more chief ministers, Union ministers want death penalty

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NEW DELHI: In recent months, the calls the death penalty for crimes have escalated. Chief ministers Amarinder Singh and Shivraj Singh Chauhan yesterday joined the list of those in favour of the death penalty in certain cases they deem fit.

Here is a list of ministers, Union ministers and chief ministers who’ve made serious calls in recent months to increase the ambit of the death penalty.

* Yesterday, Punjab chief minister (CM) Amarinder Singh decided to recommend to the Centre the death penalty for drug peddling and smuggling.

"Decided to recommend death penalty for drug peddling/smuggling. Recommendation being forwarded to Centre. Since drug peddling is destroying entire generations, it deserves exemplary punishment. I stand by my commitment for drug free Punjab."

A former law secretary agreed with Amarinder.

"There are certain offences which need to be dealt very seriously and effectively and drug peddling is one such offence. I think the offences against drugs are offences against society and recommendation made by Punjab govt need to be seriously considered, " said PK Malhotra, a former law secretary, reported news agency ANI.

* Late last month, a seven-year-old girl in Mandsaur, Madhya Pradesh (MP), was found raped and with her throat slit. Yesterday, she finally mustered the courage to walk a few steps, after multiple corrective surgeries by Indore doctors saved her life. The girl had suffered grievous injuries to her neck, face, head and private parts. Doctors had to perform a colostomy surgery to reposition her intestines.

Two suspects have been arrested. And MP's CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan wants to see the rapists - once proven who they are - get the death penalty.

"We want to see the culprits of Mandsaur rape case behind bars. Not just behind bars, we want them to get death penalty. Such people don't deserve to live on this planet," said Chauhan, reported ANI.

* The abduction, rape, and murder of an eight 8-year-old girl in a village near Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir in January came to the attention of the nation in April. The case rocked the nation and the calls for death penalty for rapists escalated.

Then Jammu and Kashmir CM Mehbooba Mufti and her coalition government in April approved the ordinance to allow courts to award death penalty for the rape of a girl child in Jammu and Kashmir.

* Around the same time of news of the Kathua rape, came news that a teenager was also allegedly raped, allegedly by a BJP lawmaker in Uttar Pradesh.

In April, the Uttar Pradesh government said it will ask the Centre to amend existing laws to ensure the death penalty for rapists, chief minister Adityanath said.

"It is necessary that rapists get strict punishment. We are going to send a letter to the Centre to make necessary amendments to award capital punishment to rapists," Adityanath said.

* The Kathua and Unnao cases rocked the nation and calls for the death penalty for child rapists and rapists escalated. Joining the nationwide outrage Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal in April demanded death for rapists.

“Fast-track courts should complete trial within six months and capital punishment should be given to those convicted of raping a minor. This should be implemented immediately,” Kejriwal Delhi Commission for Women chairperson Swati Maliwal, went without food for over a week in April, and said she won't end her fast until a law that makes the death penalty mandatory for those who rape minors comes into force.

* And last but not least, upon the urging of Union minister for child welfare Maneka Gandhi, the Union Cabinet in April approved an ordinance to award the death penalty to those convicted of raping children up to 12 years of age.

Source: Times of India, July 3, 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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