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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…

Nine 'Hardcore Terrorists' Given Death Penalty in Pakistan

VOA News -- Pakistan's military courts have handed down the death penalty to nine men the courts described as "hardcore terrorists."

The military said Friday the condemned men include an al-Qaida militant and a member of the Pakistani Taliban.

It was not immediately clear when or where the men would be executed.

Pakistan lifted a 2008 moratorium on the death penalty after a massacre at a Peshawar school killed 134 children in 2014.

Critics say the military court trials fail to meet fair trial standards.

Pakistan hanged 326 people in 2015.

Source: VOA News, January 1, 2016

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