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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…

Japan: Killer of 6-year-old Kobe girl gets death penalty

Yasuhiro Kimino
Yasuhiro Kimino
KOBE – The Kobe District Court on Friday gave the death sentence to a man who killed a 6-year-old girl in the city in 2014.

Yasuhiro Kimino, 49, lured the first-grader to his home by asking her to sit for a painting. He then strangled and stabbed her, dismembered her body and placed it in plastic bags, prosecutors say.

The prosecutors sought the death penalty, saying Kimino showed a brutal disregard for human life.

Kimino was charged with abduction for obscene purposes, murder, damage to a corpse and abandoning a corpse.

In their closing arguments outlined at Kobe District Court, the prosecutors termed Kimino’s criminal motivation “selfish,” saying there was no reason to spare the defendant from the death sentence as he had “a strong propensity to crime and it would be very difficult to correct him.”

The defendant admitted killing the girl and dismembering and abandoning her body in the first hearing of his trail Monday, but denied he abducted her for the purpose of molesting her.

The girl’s mother told the court Thursday she would never forgive the man.

The victim went missing after she returned home from elementary school in Kobe on Sept. 11, 2014, and her dismembered body was found on Sept. 23.

Police arrested Kimino, who lived locally, the following day.

The case was tried by presiding Judge Takeshi Samo, two other professional judges and six lay judges.

Source: The Japan Times, March 18, 2016

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