California: With state executions on hold, death penalty foes rethink ballot strategy

California advocates of abolishing the death penalty got a jolt of momentum in March, when Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that he would not allow any executions to take place while he was in office.
But after trying twice this decade to persuade voters to end capital punishment, they have no plans to go to the ballot again in 2020. Rather than seeking to build on Newsom’s temporary reprieve for Death Row inmates, activists are taking their own pause.
Grappling with the legacy of their two failed initiatives, advocates are reassessing their strategy and retooling their message. Natasha Minsker, a political consultant who has long been involved with abolition efforts, said the governor’s moratorium has given advocates the opportunity to do long-term planning.
“There’s this excitement and energy in our movement that we haven’t had in a long time,” Minsker said.
Newsom’s executive order caught many Californians by surprise. Although he supported the unsuccessful ballot measures to abolish t…

Japan Top Court Backs Lighter Sentence for Indiscriminate Killer

Gallows trapdoor, Tokyo Detention Center
Osaka, Dec. 2 (Jiji Press)--Japan's Supreme Court upheld on Monday a high court ruling that overturned a death penalty and gave an indefinite term to an unemployed man for killing two pedestrians in downtown Osaka some seven years ago.

The man, Kyozo Isohi, 44, successively stabbed Shingo Minamino, then 42, and Toshi Sasaki, then 66, to death on a street in the Minami area in the southwestern Japan city on June 10, 2012, according to rulings by Osaka district and high courts.

In the district court trial under the lay judge system, Isohi was sentenced to death. But the high court handed down the lighter sentence on the grounds that he was suffering from auditory hallucinations and that only two people were killed without advance planning.

The prosecution as well as the defense side appealed the high court ruling to the Supreme Court.

The top Court's First Petty Bench, presided by Justice Hiroshi Koike, dismissed both appeals, fixing the life sentence.

Japan Top Court Backs Indefinite Term for Killer of Girl

Tokyo, July 3 (Jiji Press)--Japan's Supreme Court has upheld a high court ruling for an indefinite prison term given to a man who killed a six-year-old girl in Kobe, the capital of Hyogo Prefecture, western Japan, in 2014.

The top court's First Petty Bench made the decision on Monday, turning down an appeal by public prosecutors who demanded capital punishment for the man, Yasuhiro Kimino, 52. 

The ruling is thus set to be finalized.

In March 2017, Osaka High Court overrode the death sentence issued in March 2016 against the man in a lay judge trial at Kobe District Court, and instead gave him an indefinite prison term.

This is the fourth case in which the Supreme Court has upheld a high court ruling that overturned a death sentence handed down in a citizen judge trial at a district court.

The five justices at the First Petty Bench agreed that it cannot be said that a death penalty is unavoidable for Kimino in light of prudence and fairness, noting that the murder was not well planned and that Kimino had not committed a similar crime before.

Source: nippon.com, Staff, December 2, July 3, 2019

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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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