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'Express lane to death': Texas seeks approval to speed up death penalty appeals, execute more quickly

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Texas is seeking to speed up executions with a renewed request to opt-in to a federal law that would shorten the legal process and limit appeals options for death-sentenced prisoners.
Defense attorneys worry it would lead to the execution of innocent people and - if it's applied retroactively, as Texas is requesting - it could potentially end ongoing appeals for a number of death row prisoners and make them eligible for execution dates.
"Opt-in would speed up the death penalty treadmill exponentially," said Kathryn Kase, an longtime defense attorney and former executive director of Texas Defender Services.
But a state attorney general spokeswoman framed the request to the Justice Department as a necessary way to avoid "stressful delays" and cut down on the "excessive costs" of lengthy federal court proceedings.
Robbie Kaplan, co-founder of the #TimesUp movement, says sweeping changes to laws in recent years have dissuaded attorneys from taking on har…

Connecticut death row inmates remain in legal limbo despite ruling

WETHERSFIELD -- Conditions on Connecticut’s death row remain unchanged more than four months after the Connecticut Supreme Court found the state’s death penalty unconstitutional.

But Correction Commissioner Scott Semple said he is working to change a policy that requires those inmates to be in restraints any time they leave their cells.

Defense attorneys predicted after the August ruling that the 11 inmates currently housed on death row at Northern Correctional Institution would be reclassified and join the general prison population.

But prosecutors are hoping to overturn the Supreme Court ruling when they argue another death-penalty appeal in January.

Semple says until the legal issues are resolved, the inmates will remain where they are.

Source: The Associated Press, December 26, 2015

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