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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…

China: Kiwi drugs-accused Peter Gardner could face death penalty

Peter Gardner was charged with drug trafficking after being caught with 30kg of methamphetamine in China.
Peter Gardner was charged with drug trafficking after
being caught with 30kg of methamphetamine in China.

The New Zealander allegedly caught trying to leave China with $25 million of methamphetamine is expecting to find out his fate within the next month.

Peter Gardner was stopped at Guangzhou Baiyan International Airport in 2014, while travelling back to his home in Australia with then-girlfriend Kalynda Davis.

Gardner claimed ownership of the bags when questioned – but denied the drugs found inside were his.

He said he had been duped into carrying the 30kgs of methamphetamine, and thought he was transporting an order of bodybuilding peptides including Melanotan.

The pair were arrested, but while Davis was later freed and sent home, Gardner was locked up.

He went to trial in front of a panel of three judges last May, and a verdict had been expected within a few weeks of the one-day hearing's conclusion.

If found guilty, Gardner could face the death penalty.

Gardner's parents, Sandra Cornelius and Russell Gardner, travelled to China for the hearing and were granted two short visits with their son.

After Gardner's arrest, it emerged it was his second trip to China - he had previously made one other journey to bring back the legal, performance-enhancing peptides.

Gardner's lawyer Craig Tuck says his client was coping well with the extended wait for a verdict.

"Peter is very thankful for the love and support of his friends and family in New Zealand and Australia."

Tuck said he was now expecting a verdict by the end of April.

If convicted, there would be a 10-day period to appeal, he said.

Source: stuff.co.nz, March 27, 2016

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Death Penalty News: China: Sydney man Peter Gardner to face ...Apr 30, 2015 ... Sydney man Peter Gardner, 25, has had his death penalty case in a Chinese courtroom brought forward by almost 6 months and will go on trial ...
Australian cop's daughter Kalynda Davis and Peter Gardner may ...Dec 8, 2014 ... Australian cop's daughter Kalynda Davis and Peter Gardner may face firing squad in China for alleged drug trafficking ...
Death Penalty News: China: Customs officials believe Gardner ...Dec 15, 2014 ... Kiwi builder Peter Gardner's chances of avoiding the death penalty in China have rapidly deteriorated with local customs officials revealing that ...
Death Penalty News: Sydney pair faces the death penalty over ...Dec 2, 2014 ... Sydney pair Peter Gardner and Kalynda Davis only met a few weeks ago, but have been charged together by Chinese authorities after ...
Death Penalty News: April 2015Apr 30, 2015 ... A dual New Zealand/Australian citizen, Gardner was arrested at .... China: Sydney man Peter Gardner to face Guangzhou court over drug ...
Death Penalty News: Parents of New Zealander facing execution in ...Jun 1, 2015 ... Peter Gardner, 26, was detained on November 8 when Customs allegedly found more than 30 kilograms of methamphetamine in his luggage ...

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