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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…

Death sentence for maid killers in UAE

A couple who killed their maid then tried to cover up the crime by burning her body with acid have been sentenced to death.

Abu Dhabi Criminal Court handed down the verdict on Wednesday after convicting the Palestinian husband and wife of murdering the Ethiopian woman.

The court was told that on the day of the murder in 2014, a fight broke out between the wife and the maid. Prosecutors said the wife beat her maid with a stick so badly that the maid fell unconscious and later died.

"Her husband poured a chemical substance on the maid's body to try to hide her identity," said a prosecutor. The couple wrapped the woman's body in white cloth then placed it in a suitcase that they dumped in the desert during the night in the Al Ajban area of Abu Dhabi.

Although the body was badly burned, police officers were still able to uncover the identity of the maid after her corpse was found. Her killers were later arrested while hiding out in a hotel with their children.

"They made the woman work for them for many months but they never paid her anything. They instead killed her," a prosecutor told court.

Prosecutors charged the couple with murder, torture and depriving the maid of her freedom. Prosecutors had demanded the death penalty in the event of a conviction.

Both the wife and her husband had denied all the charges. But Chief Justice Idris bin Mansour found the pair guilty.

The maid's family had also refused blood money and asked that the pair be executed for the murder of their relative.

Under UAE law, a death sentence can be appealed within 14 days of the verdict being issued.

Source: 7days.ae, February 11, 2016

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