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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…

Saudi Arabia: Death penalty sought for 28 espionage suspects

Public beheading in Saudi Arabia
Public beheading in Saudi Arabia
Manama: A government prosecutor called for the death penalty for 28 suspects -- 27 Saudis and one Afghan -- and for severe jail terms for the remaining four, three Saudis and one Iranian.

A business analyst and a security serviceman are among the 32 people put on trial in Saudi Arabia this week for spying for Iran.

The 32 suspects are accused of high treason against the kingdom by collaborating with Iranian intelligence.

The security serviceman worked for a sector tasked with the security and safety of pilgrims, the court in the capital Riyadh heard as the last eight suspects, all Saudi nationals, went on trial on Tuesday, Saudi daily Okaz reported.

The serviceman asked the judges to name a lawyer to defend him, explaining that he did not have the financial resources to hire an attorney.

However, a judge told him that he would have to pay the state back in case it was found out that he was financially able to hire a lawyer, he changed his mind and said he would have his own lawyer, Okaz said.

Another suspect who pleaded to be bailed out was told that he needed the approval of the interior minister and that he should fill in an application.

Source: Gulf News, Feb. 25, 2016

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