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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…

Iraqi president signs execution orders for convicted terrorists

Iraqi President Fouad Massoum on Sunday execution orders for offenders convicted of terrorist offenses, his spokesman announced.

Khalid Shwani, the official spokesman of Iraqi president, explained that this was the 3rd batch of executions that Massoum had signed for terrorist offenses, but did not disclose how many were endorsed.

"Fouad Massoum, President of Iraq, signed the 3rd waves of capital punishment," Shwani said.

He added that the orders are for "all offenders who have been convicted of terror-related offenses."

Shwani said that signing the orders mean that the death sentences imposed on the offenders now moves into the implementation stage.

He assured the Iraqi nation that the decisions came after a special committee had investigated the cases.

Last year, Shwani told Rudaw that from 2006 to 2015, Iraqi courts issued execution orders for 667 individuals, of whom 170 were convicted of terror-related offenses.

Source: Rudaw.net, Feb 1, 2016

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