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Vol 21 No 9 Sept/Oct 2016

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Goode on Commercial Law

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The Global Decline of the Mandatory Death Penalty: Constitutional Jurisprudence and Legislative Reform in Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean

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ISBN13: 9781472423252
Published: June 2014
Publisher: Ashgate Publishing Ltd
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Hardback
Price: £95.00

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Historically, at English common law, the death penalty was mandatory for the crime of murder and other violent felonies. Over the last three decades, however, many former British colonies have reformed their capital punishment regimes to permit judicial sentencing discretion, including consideration of mitigating factors.

Applying a comparative analysis to the law of capital punishment, Novak examines the constitutional jurisprudence and resulting legislative reform in the Caribbean, Sub-Saharan Africa, and South and Southeast Asia, focusing on the rapid retreat of the mandatory death penalty in the Commonwealth over the last thirty years.

The coordinated mandatory death penalty challenges - which have had the consequence of greatly reducing the world's death row population - represent a case study of how a small group of lawyers can sponsor human rights litigation that incorporates international human rights law into domestic constitutional jurisprudence, ultimately harmonizing criminal justice regimes across borders.

This book is essential reading for anyone interested in the study and development of Human Rights and Capital Punishment, as well as those exploring the contours of Comparative Criminal Justice.

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Human Rights and Civil Liberties
Introduction: the mandatory death penalty in historical and comparative perspective
An excessive and arbitrary punishment: the mandatory death penalty and discretion in the United States of America
restricting the death penalty to the 'rarest of the rare': the origins of a discretionary death penalty in India and Bangladesh
A successful experiment: the abolition of the mandatory death penalty in the Commonwealth Caribbean
The holdouts: the survival of the mandatory death penalty in Malaysia and Singapore
The new frontier: constitutional challenges to the mandatory death penalty in sub-Saharan Africa
The doctrine of extenuating circumstances: the rise of judicial sentencing discretion in Southern Africa
Conclusion: after the mandatory death penalty