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The ongoing sentencing trial of Nikolas Cruz, the 23-year-old Florida man who in 2018 murdered fourteen students and three staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day, will test whether the seven men and five women on the jury hearing his case can hate the sin but muster the courage to spare the life of the sinner. That is exactly what his defense team is asking them to do as they sit in judgment of the person who perpetrated one of this country’s most brutal mass murders. Like many death penalty defense lawyers before them, Cruz’s lawyers, to their credit, have not downplayed the gravity of the horrors their client inflicted in Parkland, Florida. Instead, during the sentencing trial, or what the journalist Dahlia Lithwick once called a “trial of the heart,” they have focused their attention on who Cruz is and the factors that shaped his life. As the Supreme Court said more than fifty years ago, in capital cases those who impose the sentence must consider “

Malaysia may soon do away with mandatory death sentence: Minister

PUTRAJAYA - Mandatory death and whipping sentences could become a thing of the past in Malaysia by early next year with amendments to the laws to be tabled in Parliament next month.

Instead, judges will have the discretion to hand down the two sentences.

"If everything goes well and there are no disruptions to the coming budget session, we will no longer have the mandatory death sentence in 2023," said Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.

"This will also apply to whipping as it will be left to the discretion of the judges," he told The Star in an interview on Monday.

The Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Parliament and Law) said he intended to table the proposed amendments during the Parliament meeting starting on Oct 3.

"The amendments on the mandatory death sentences will cover amendments to 33 sections under the law and involve mandatory death sentences for 11 offences," he said.

The 11 offences comprise nine under the Penal Code and two under the Firearms (Increased Penalties) Act.

On the fate of those now on death row, Dr Wan Junaidi said the government was still mulling over its options.

In June, it was reported that there were 1,342 death row inmates who were in limbo as to their fate.

Of the number, over 900 were convicted for drug trafficking while the remaining were for murder.

Of the total, 844 are Malaysians and 498 are foreigners from 40 countries.

The abolition of the mandatory death sentence was first raised by the Pakatan Harapan administration in 2018.

A moratorium on execution was then implemented.

On whipping, Dr Wan Junaidi said the proposed amendments would not do away with the punishment but again give judges the discretion on whether to impose it.

"Personally, I view whipping as very brutal and violent and simply inhumane.

"That is why I am suggesting that judges have the discretion to impose the punishment," he said, adding that most offenders suffer open wounds with many fainting after three strokes.

With discretion given, judges can weigh the gravity of the harm committed by offenders on their victims before imposing the punishment.

He said there might be instances where a judge might say no to whipping in some cases, but impose it on "sadistic" offenders who cause hurt to their victims.

Dr Wan Junaidi said he would meet the Attorney-General's Chambers soon to discuss the matter before seeking Cabinet approval to table the amendments.

On a separate matter, he said the recently passed anti-hopping law was expected to be enforced this month. 

[Still a LONG way to go, Malaysia! — DPN]

Source: straitstimes.com, Staff, September 6, 2022





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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
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