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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…

Bernie Sanders And Hillary Clinton Split On The Death Penalty

Bernie Sanders (left) and Hillary Clinton (right)
Bernie Sanders (left) and Hillary Clinton (right)
Clinton thinks it's appropriate for "particularly heinous crimes," while Sanders wants the government out of the killing business.

WASHINGTON -- Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders split on the issue of capital punishment during a debate Thursday, with Clinton supporting the death penalty in certain circumstances and Sanders saying the government shouldn't be "part of the killing."

Clinton said during the MSNBC debate that she still supports the death penalty, though said she had "much more confidence in the federal system" and had concerns with how the death penalty was implemented on the state level. She said she hoped the Supreme Court would make sure states had protections in place and were implementing the death penalty in a constitutional manner.

"For very limited, particularly heinous crimes, I believe it is an appropriate punishment, but I deeply disagree with the way that too many states still are implementing it," Clinton said.

Sanders, on the other hand, said he worried that too many innocent people, particularly minorities, had been executed when they weren't guilty.

"Of course there are barbaric acts out there, but in a world of so much violence and killing, I just don't believe that government itself should be part of the killing," Sanders said. He said when someone commits murder, they should be locked away for life. But, Sanders said, "I just don't want to see government be part of killing."

Source: The Huffington Post, Ryan J. Reilly, February 4, 2016

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