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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…

Singapore: Suspected drug syndicate leader arrested, more than $103,000 worth of drugs seized by CNB

Singapore's Changi Prison
Singapore's Changi Prison
A suspected drug syndicate leader was arrested following an operation mounted by the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) on Tuesday evening.

3 other suspected drug offenders were also arrested and more than $103,000 worth of drugs were seized, including about 400g of Ice and ketamine, more than 900g of heroin, more than 800 Erimin-5 tablets and 90 Ecstasy tablets.

A small amount of cannabis and opium, 3 digital weighing scales and improvised drug-smoking apparatus were also recovered.

On Tuesday evening, CNB officers observed a rider of a Malaysia-registered motorcyle entering a unit along Hamilton Road and leaving 15 minutes later.

Officers tailed the 43-year-old Malaysian and intercepted his motorcycle at the junction of Jalan Besar and Lavender Street. They recovered Erimin-5 tablets and $6,000 cash after conducting a search of his bag.

Meanwhile, another group of CNB officers raided the Hamilton Road unit, where they arrested a 55-year-old Singaporean man, believed to be the drug syndicate leader.

The same evening, officers nabbed a 37-year-old Singaporean man, suspected of being associate of the drug syndicate leader, and a 55-year-old Singaporean man suspected of being drug abuser.

Investigations into the drug activities of the 4 suspects are ongoing.

Under the Misuse of Drugs Act, those found guilty of trafficking more than 15g of diamorphine (or pure heroin) face the death penalty. The amount is equivalent to 1,250 straws, enough to feed the addiction of about 180 abusers for a week.

Source: Straits Times, December 8, 2015

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