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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…

Five suspects face death for armed raid in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Manama: Saudi Arabia’s prosecution has requested the death penalty for five suspects, four Saudis and one Yemeni, who raided a commercial complex in the Red Sea city of Jeddah.

Investigations revealed that the five suspects plotted an armed attack on the commercial facility after they learned that there were 1.5 million Saudi riyals kept inside the safe.

Two members of the gang, one of them wearing a military uniform, led the attack carrying guns, while the others monitored the place, searched the shoppers and the employees in the shop and took their mobiles and money, Saudi daily Okaz reported.

Witnesses said the attack was carried out at noon when the shops were about to close for prayers and that the gang held 10 shopkeepers hostage.

The gang members told them the action was part of an anti-money laundering operation for the general intelligence service and ordered them not to resist them and to obey their commands.

The gang eventually escaped with 400,000 Saudi riyals which they later shared, investigations revealed.

The police relied on fingerprints and on the footage recorded by the surveillance to arrest the gang members.

Source: Gulf News, December 26, 2015

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