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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…

E.U.: Declaration by the Committee of Ministers on the death penalty in the USA

The following declaration was adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 10 February 2016 at the 1247th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies.

The Committee of Ministers deplores the execution of five persons in the United States since the beginning of 2016. 

It recalls that capital punishment contravenes the principles set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the European Convention on Human Rights and reiterates its appeal to the United States authorities to introduce a moratorium on the death penalty as a first step towards abolition.

The Committee of Ministers is following with concern the debate relating to the lifting of the moratorium on executions in the State of California following the possible introduction of a new lethal injection protocol. 

It urges the Californian authorities not to go back on the moratorium put in place in 2006 so as to ensure that the death penalty remains a thing of the past.

Source: Council of Europe, Conseil de l'Europe, February 11, 2016

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