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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…

Sri Lanka Death Row Inmates Get Sentences Commuted To Life

Following a set of recommendations made by a committee appointed to look into the death sentence issued on several convicts, it has been decided to convert the death sentence imposed on 34 of those convicts into life imprisonment.

President Maithripala Sirisena had taken the decision after considering the reports on the 34 convicts submitted by the committee which was appointed by the former President.

The committee has also finalized reports on another 60 convicts on death row and these reports will also be handed over to the President for his consideration, a committee member told The Sunday Leader.

Since the death sentence is not implemented in Sri Lanka an issue has arisen on the convicts who are on death row.

Human rights groups have urged the Sri Lankan government not to implement the death sentence despite pressure from some groups and individuals following a spate of gruesome murders in the country.

Source: The Sunday Leader, Feb. 8, 2016

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