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

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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…

Indonesia sentences American man to 9 1/3 years for drugs

Bali's Kerobokan prison
DENPASAR, Indonesia — An Indonesian court sentenced an American man to 9 1/3 years in prison on Monday after finding him guilty of selling cocaine and marijuana on the resort island of Bali.

Police said Ian Andrew Hernandez of California was arrested last May with 10 small plastic packs containing 6.6 grams of cocaine and a pack with 23.7 grams of marijuana at his rented house on the island. The raid on the house followed a tip from a member of the community.

Police also seized electric scales, cigarette papers and a cellphone allegedly used to receive orders for drugs from tourists through text messages. The indictment said Hernandez confessed that the devices and drugs were his.

Hernandez, 31, sat silently as a panel of three judges at Denpasar District Court handed down the punishment. They also ordered him to pay a fine of 1 billion rupiah ($72,885) or serve two more months behind bars.

"The defendant did commit a crime that has tarnished Bali as a tourist destination," said Presiding Judge Koni Hartanto. "What he has done is contrary to government efforts to fight drug trafficking."

Hernandez declined to speak to reporters on his way back to prison.

Prosecutors had sought a 14-year sentence, but the judges said they reduced the penalty because Hernandez regretted his acts and promised to reform.

Hernandez's lawyer, Made Suardika Adnyana, told the court that his client accepted the verdict.

Indonesia has strict drug laws and convicted traffickers are sometimes executed by firing squad. 

More than 150 people are on death row, mostly for drug crimes. About a third are foreigners.

Eighteen people convicted of drug-related offenses have been executed under the current administration of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo.

Last year, a Frenchman was sentenced to death on Lombok, an island next to Bali, for smuggling 3 kilograms (6.6 pounds) of ecstasy, before a higher court commuted his sentence to 19 years in prison.

Source: The Associated Press, Staff, January 13, 2020


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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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