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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…

Indonesia: Presidential Guard Member Caught With Drugs at N. Sumatra Airporti

Indonesia's elite Presidential Security Forces
Indonesia's elite Presidential Security Forces
Medan. A member of Indonesia's elite Presidential Security Forces (Paspampres) was caught on Monday trying to bring a small amount of narcotics on board a civilian airplane at Kualanamu International Airport in North Sumatra.

Police said Pvt. First Class Frestiyan Ardha Pranatha had half a pill of ecstasy and 0.35 grams of crystal methamphetamine hidden in his head wear when he was trying to board a Garuda Indonesia flight to Jakarta.

"He was detained by Kualanamu Airport security officials during an X-ray check," said Adj. Sr. Comr. M. Edi Faryadi, the head of police in Deli Serdang district, where the airport is located.

Edi added that the suspect had been handed over to the military police and taken to Jakarta.

Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung said the palace "deeply regretted" the incident and added that the government was expecting appropriate punishment.

"[This goes for] whoever gets caught, but especially for Paspampres members, who are carefully selected," Pramono said.

"This is not good, and it is not a good example," he added. "If necessary, [the soldier has to be] removed [from his position]."

The fight against drug abuse is one of President Joko Widodo's stated policy priorities and sparked international outrage last year when 14 drug convicts, including 12 foreigners, were executed.


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