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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…

Serial human trafficker executed in China after abducting 22 children

Chinese police busted two child-trafficking rings, rescuing 178 children and arresting 608 suspects in Dec. 2011.
Chinese police busted two child-trafficking rings, rescuing
178 children and arresting 608 suspects in Dec. 2011.
A man has been executed in China for the abduction and trafficking of 22 children over the space of 5 years.

China's top court, The Supreme's People's Court, announced today that Tan Yongzhi had been 'condemned to death' in Zhengzhou, Henan Province, reports the People's Daily Online.

Tan kidnapped the children between February 2008 and April 2013 from areas that stretched across south-west China's Yunnan Province to the central area of Henan.

According to the report, the court said Tan's actions and the large number of children he abducted seriously damaged children's rights, which is why he was executed.

The authorities have been unable to locate the birth parents of all the abducted children.

The exact date of the sentencing or execution has not been released.

There has always been a heavy penalty for those convicted of abducting a child in China, and the death penalty is still prominent.

The country has intensified its crackdown on trafficking of women and children in recent years.

In 2012, 1,918 abduction cases involving women and children were solved.

The Supreme People's Court said that number declined massively to 858 cases last year - a drop of almost 50 %.

The amount of people punished for abduction related charges in China declined by more than 1/2, from 2,801 in 2012, to 1,362 in 2015.

Child abduction is a major problem in the country, and finding accurate figures is extremely difficult.

A recent BBC report said that an illegal market in children has developed in the country, and it is estimated that 200,000 children are taken from their parents each year.

In some cases of extreme poverty parents are forced to choose between selling their children and paying fines for having too many, which could explain why some of the birth parents of the children abducted by Tan could never be found.

Source: Daily Mail, January 30, 2016

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