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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.: Statement on the confirmation of a death sentence in Belarus

Minsk, Belarus
"The Supreme Court of Belarus on 29 March confirmed the death sentence against Ivan Kulesh, which had already been handed down by the Hrodna Regional Court in November 2015.

Mr Kulesh is guilty of serious crimes and we reiterate our deepest sympathy to the family and friends of the victims of these crimes.

Despite the seriousness of the acts, the European Union opposes capital punishment in all cases. 

It has proved to fail as a deterrent and it represents an unacceptable denial of human dignity and integrity.

We urge Belarus, the only country in Europe which still applies capital punishment, to respect the right to life of each one of its citizens and to join a global moratorium on the death penalty as a first step towards its abolition."

Source: eeas.europa.eu, March 30, 2016

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