The U.S. Supreme Court strikes down death penalty, June 29, 1972

The US Supreme Court

source: Politico
published: 26 June 2017

On this day in 1972, the U.S. Supreme Court instituted what became a four-year ban on the imposition of capital punishment in the United States.

In Furman v. Georgia, the court ruled 5 to 4 that capital punishment, as it was then being levied on both the state and federal levels, violated the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

A narrow majority of the justices held that the death penalty constituted “cruel and unusual punishment,” basing their finding primarily on the “arbitrary and capricious ways” it was being administered, particularly regarding race.

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Birmingham pub bombings: Families lawyers granted legal aid

Legal Gavel

source: BBC News
published: 4 May 2017

Lawyers acting for eight families of victims of the Birmingham pub bombings say they have been offered legal aid funding.

The government had previously intervened to remove legal barriers that had barred the Northern Ireland-based firm from applying for funding.

The Legal Aid Agency confirmed the decision on Wednesday.

Inquests into the deaths of the 21 people killed by the IRA in November 1974 are due to resume later this year.

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The continuing collapse of the death penalty (Florida Supreme Court)

kill the death penaltysource: NY Times
published: 26 December 2016

Piece by piece, the death penalty continues to fall apart. Last week, the Florida Supreme Court invalidated between 150 and 200 death sentences — nearly half of all those in the state — because they were imposed under a law the United States Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional in January.

The law, which required judges and not juries to make the factual findings necessary to sentence someone to die, violated the Sixth Amendment’s guarantee of a jury trial. “A jury’s mere recommendation is not enough,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote for an 8-to-1 majority.

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