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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…

Maldives president says death penalty only way for stability

Male Airport Maldives
Male Airport, Maldives
Implementing death penalty will only bring stability and harmony to the Maldives, President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom said Saturday.

At the closing ceremony of the third symposium on training campaign leaders for his re-election, President Yameen said his government's aim is to bring peace and harmony to the society. That cannot be achieved only through legislation, he added.

"Why are some people so fond of taking the life of another person? Why should there be space for that? We don't want that to happen," the president said, at the ceremony held at the Dharubaaruge convention centre in capital Male.

The president's comments follow a series of new rules and regulations adopted by the authorities to implement capital punishment and is currently drafting a law on death penalty.

High Court had in November annulled the clause giving the president power to grant clemency to convicts on death row.

The Supreme Court had issued new guidelines recently allowing death sentences and public lashing rulings issued by lower courts to be appealed automatically at the High Court.

In a circular, the Supreme Court said if the defendant fails to appeal death sentences and public lashing verdicts within 10 days, the court that had initially issued the verdict should forward the relevant documents to the High Court. The appellate court would have seven days to notify both the defendant and the prosecution of the appeal and during that period should take the necessary steps to begin appeal proceedings, it added.

The new rules follow similar guidelines issued by the apex court in November.

The Supreme Court issued new guidelines on November 8 giving a month-long window for the last chance to appeal death sentences and public lashings backed by High Court.

According to the guidelines, if a defendant fails to appeal a High Court verdict in favour of death sentences and public lashing rulings within a 30-day period, the appeal can then only be filed at the Supreme Court by the prosecution.

The guidelines, included in a circular signed by Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed, did not specifically mention sentences of death and public lashing. However, it says that High Court rulings that need to be reconfirmed by the Supreme Court had to be appealed within 30 days, including public holidays.

Under local laws, the only sentences that need to be reconfirmed by the Supreme Court are death sentences and public lashing verdicts.

Judicature Act earlier granted a 90-day period, excluding public holidays, to appeal rulings by any court.

However, the Supreme Court had in January 2015 annulled that clause and issued new guidelines under which rulings issued by lower courts had to be appealed at the High Court within 10 days and appeal over High Court verdicts needed to be filed at the Supreme Court within 60 days

Meanwhile, the government has included funds in the state budget for this year to establish an execution chamber at the country's main prison to carry out the death penalty.

Government had, meanwhile, adopted a new regulation in 2014 under which lethal injection would be used to implement the death penalty.

However, over mounting pressure from human rights bodies, companies have been refusing to supply the fatal dose to countries still carrying out capital punishment.

Home minister Umar Naseer had earlier said the correctional service would be ready to implement the death penalty by the time a death sentence is upheld by the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, the government announced on November 16 that it was in the process of drafting legislation on implementing death penalty.

Attorney General Mohamed Anil told reporters that the bill being drafted by his office would expand on the already existing regulations on death penalty. The bill would include procedures on conducting murder investigations, filing charges in such cases and conducting proceedings in murder cases, he added.

There are around 10 people on death row at present, but none of whom has exhausted the appeal process thus far.

Source: haveeru.com, March 20, 2016

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