FEATURED POST

America Is Stuck With the Death Penalty for (At Least) a Generation

Image
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…

Sale of guillotine divides France

Guillotine
A 150-year-old guillotine with "a few dents on the blade" will go under the hammer in Paris today.

The 10-foot (3-metre) tall instrument of execution which was used to dispatch criminals in France until 1977 is in working order. But the Drouot auction house insisted that the model was built as a replica and has never been used to behead anyone.

The sale of guillotines has been highly controversial in France where the death penalty was only abolished in 1981, with the French auction watchdog already objecting to the auction.

"They should not be selling this guillotine," a spokesman told the Parisien newspaper. "Objects like the clothes of people who were deported to the (Nazi death) camps and instruments of torture are sensitive."

That did not, however, stop another going for 220,000 euros (USD 234,000) in the same saleroom in 2011 when US pop star Lady Gaga was reportedly among the bidders. Nor does the watchdog have the power to stop the proceedings because the guillotine is part of a bankruptcy sale.

With a reserve price of between 5,000 and 8,000 euros, auctioneers expect plenty of interest. However, a similar apparatus valued at 40,000 euros failed to sell in the western city of Nantes 4 years ago.

In 2012 the French culture ministry stepped in to stop the sale of 812 objects belonging to the last French executioner in Algiers.

Related: 20 Minutes to Death: Record of the Last Execution in France

Fernand Meyssonnier had executed 200 people there when it was part of France, most of them fighters for Algerian independence.

Guillotines, sometimes known as "The National Razor" (Le Rasoir National) or "The Patriotic Shortener" (La Raccourcisseuse Patriotique) in French, were first adapted as a "humane" alternative to hanging, when many of the condemned had long, lingering deaths on the scaffold.

They became notorious in the Terror that followed the French revolution when more than 16,000 people were beheaded between the summers of 1793 and 1794.

The last person to die on the guillotine in France was Tunisian Hamida Djandoubi, who was executed in a Marseille prison in September 1977 after being convicted of the torture and murder of a young woman.

Source: Agence France-Presse, July 11, 2018


⚑ | Report an error, an omission, a typo; suggest a story or a new angle to an existing story; submit a piece, a comment; recommend a resource; contact the webmaster, contact us: deathpenaltynews@gmail.com.


Opposed to Capital Punishment? Help us keep this blog up and running! DONATE!



"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

Most Viewed (Last 7 Days)

Texas: With a man's execution days away, his victims react with fury or forgiveness

Texas executes Christopher Young

Ohio executes Robert Van Hook

Saudi Arabia executes seven people in one day

Execution date pushed back for Texas 7 escapee after paperwork error on death warrant

Ohio Governor commutes one sentence, delays another

Ex-Aum member Yoshihiro Inoue’s last words: ‘I didn’t expect things to turn out this way’

Iran: Man executed in Mashhad; billionaire to hang over embezzlement charges

20 Minutes to Death: Record of the Last Execution in France

Oklahoma: Death row inmate’s legal team hopes DNA testing on key piece of evidence will exonerate him before execution