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Iran: The death penalty is an inhumane punishment for death row prisoners, their families and society as a whole

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"Whether guilty or not, the outcome of the death penalty is the same. In Iran, the death penalty is by hanging, and it takes from several agonising seconds to several harrowing minutes for death to occur and for everything to be over."

Every year several hundred people are executed by the Iranian authorities.
According to reports by Iran Human Rights (IHR) and other human rights groups, death row prisoners have often no access to a defence lawyer after their arrest and are sentenced to death following unfair trials and based on confessions extracted from them under torture. 
These are issues which have been addressed in IHR’s previous reports. The current report is based on first-hand accounts of several inmates held in Iran's prisons and their families. The report seeks to illustrate other aspects of how the death penalty affects the inmate, their families and, as a consequence, society.
How does a death row inmate experience his final hours?
Speaking about the final ho…

Justice Kennedy: He swung left on the death penalty but declined to swing for the fences

Justice Anthony Kennedy
As in many other areas of the law, Justice Anthony Kennedy often provided the key fifth vote in death penalty cases during his three decades on the Supreme Court. 

Swinging to the right, Kennedy was a frequent supporter of restrictions on the availability of federal habeas review of capital cases, a skeptic of claims challenging the constitutionality of lethal injection and a relatively reliable vote against granting stays of execution in end-stage capital litigation. 

Kennedy will likely be remembered more, however, for his swings to the left, because he was the author of numerous opinions that broke new ground in the court’s Eighth Amendment jurisprudence.

Most importantly, he was the primary architect of the court’s proportionality doctrine that led to exemptions from the death penalty for offenders with intellectual disability, juvenile offenders and nonhomicide offenders. He also ultimately joined decisions embracing a broad right of capital defendants to present and have fully considered all relevant mitigating evidence. 

Finally, he was the first justice to raise concerns about the extensive use of solitary confinement on death row. Overall, he solidified the court’s role in subjecting American death penalty practices to frequent and detailed — though not particularly intrusive — constitutional regulation. 

Kennedy never joined calls from members of the court (Justices Harry Blackmun, John Paul Stevens, Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg) to reconsider the constitutionality of the death penalty as a punishment, but his jurisprudential glosses on the court’s proportionality doctrine arguably strengthen the case for judicial abolition.

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Source: SCOTUSblog, Carol Steiker and Jordan Steiker, July 2, 2018. Carol S. Steiker is the Henry J. Friendly Professor of Law and Faculty Co-Director of the Criminal Justice Policy Program at Harvard Law School. Jordan M. Steiker is the Judge Robert M Parker Endowed Chair in Law and Director of the Capital Punishment Center at the University of Texas at Austin School of Law.


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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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