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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…

Missouri representative files bill to 'optimize' death row

Missouri's death chamber
Missouri's death chamber
New rule would expedite execution process for those without further chance of appeal

State lawmakers will soon discuss House Bill 1647, which would reform Missouri's execution process.

State Rep. Mike Kelley, R-Lamar, said the bill would require the state Supreme Court to perform a review on all pending death row cases within 30 days of it passing.

The bill would also require the court to schedule an execution within 60 days of the review's completion.

Kelley said the bill would both save the state about $30,000 a year per inmate. 

He said it would more effectively carry out the court's decision to impose the death penalty.

"My goal is not to ever execute anyone that's innocent. That's no one's goal," Kelley said. "When you have a person who's admitted they are guilty, once there are no more appeals available, that sentence needs to be carried out."

There are currently 27 inmates facing the death penalty in Missouri.

Source: ABC news, December 11, 2015

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