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Will the Supreme Court Kill The Death Penalty This Term?

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Will the U.S. Supreme Court add the fate of the death penalty to a term already fraught with hot-button issues like partisan gerrymandering, warrantless surveillance, and a host of contentious First Amendment disputes?
That’s the hope of an ambitious Supreme Court petition seeking to abolish the ultimate punishment. But it runs headlong into the fact that only two justices have squarely called for a reexamination of the death penalty’s constitutionality.
Abel Hidalgo challenges Arizona’s capital punishment system—which sweeps too broadly, he says, because the state’s “aggravating factors” make 99 percent of first-degree murderers death-eligible—as well as the death penalty itself, arguing it’s cruel and unusual punishment.
He’s represented by former acting U.S. Solicitor General Neal Katyal—among the most successful Supreme Court practitioners last term. Hidalgo also has the support of several outside groups who filed amicus briefs on his behalf, notably one from a group including Ari…

Two given death penalty for Gaza drug smuggling

Execution in Gaza City on October 2, 2013
Execution in Gaza City on October 2, 2013
A Hamas military court on Sunday sentenced 2 Palestinians to death for drug smuggling in the Gaza Strip, in the 1st punishment of its kind in the enclave.

"The Gaza military court announced the death penalty for 2 civilians from Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, for selling narcotics," the Hamas-controlled interior ministry said in a statement.

It said a 3rd suspect was sentenced to hard labor.

Authorities have seized drugs with a street value of around $1 million (900,000 euros) over the past few months, the ministry said.

They seized 1,250 packets of cannabis and 400 pills of Tramadol -- a powerful opiate-based painkiller -- in January alone, it said.

Until Sunday, only people guilty of spying for Israel or murder had received the death penalty in Gaza, controlled by Islamist Hamas since 2007.

All Palestinian death sentences in theory have to be approved by president Mahmoud Abbas, but Hamas has long refused to accept his legitimacy.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights says around a dozen death sentences have been passed down in Gaza since the start of 2017.

Source: The Daily Star, March 19, 2017

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