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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…

Executed for Being Gay: 10 Places Where Being Gay Can Get You Killed

It’s crazy to think that today, in 2015, there are still places in the world where being gay could get you killed. Sure, we have a long way to go when it comes to equal rights, intolerance and acceptance — but being killed? How is that still possible?

Unfortunately, it’s a very scary reality for many LGBTQ people around the world.

YEMEN: If you’re a married man, and get caught having homosexual intercourse, you can be stoned to death. If you’re unmarried and get caught it’s a whipping and/or a year in prison. And for women — up to seven years in prison.

IRAN: Men caught engaging in homosexual sex can be killed. And it’s not just lip service: In July 2005, two teenagers were hanged, convicted of “homosexuality.”

IRAQ: There’s nothing in the law that calls out homosexuality specifically, but that hasn’t stopped militias and local judges from sentencing people to death anyway.

MAURITANIA: Gay Muslim men can face stoning, and gay Muslim women face imprisonment.

NIGERIA: Not only is it illegal for gay people to form clubs or groups, some states in Nigeria have also adopted the death penalty for gay men.

QATAR: Extramarital sex is punishable by death. And since same-sex marriage isn’t legal, that includes all homosexual sex.

SAUDI ARABIA: Lashes, imprisonment and stoning are acceptable punishments for “sodomy” and other homosexual acts.

SOMALIA: Imprisonment may be the law of the land, but that hasn’t stopped some states from enacting the death penalty.

SUDAN: Get caught once: Flogging. Twice: Imprisonment. Three times: Death penalty.

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: There’s some confusion about what actually warrants the death penalty (consensual homosexual sex or just rape?), but all sex outside of marriage is banned.

Source: PRIDE, Dustin Diehl, January 14, 2016
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