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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…

Manufacturing illicit liquor in Bihar could soon lead to death penalty

Patna, Bihar
Patna, Bihar
Patna: The Bihar government is bringing a bill to award capital punishment for manufacturing illicit liquor once prohibition comes into effect in the state from 1 April, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said on Wednesday.

The government would bring a legislation in the ongoing budget session of the Assembly against liquor sale in which there would be a provision of capital punishment for those caught manufacturing illicit liquor, he said.

Bihar government has decided to impose prohibition of country and spiced liquor in the state and restricted sale of Indian Made Foreign Liquor from 1 April.

For sustaining the livelihood of those involved in the business of liquor, the government has offered them to sell products of Sudha Dairy from their counters.

"The officials have told me, so far they have received over 200 applications for opening Sudha Dairy outlets in place of those selling liquor from across the state," Kumar told reporters in his Assembly chamber.

The state-run Bihar State Milk Co-operative Federation Ltd markets its products under the brand name "Sudha Dairy". Kumar expressed optimism that many more such proposals would pour in from different parts of the state.

He said a comprehensive campaign was underway to convince people to give up drinking.

"More than 40 lakh volunteers including members of self-help groups are going from house to house to ask people to give up the habit of drinking," he said.

Moreover, students in 72,000 government schools in the state were given a declaration form which they have to get signed by their parent not to touch liquor.

Kumar said officials were identifying habitual boozers for their treatment in a de-addiction centre, which every district would have at least one.

Kumar asserted prohibition would bring a social revolution particularly in rural areas where many a household were ruined due to drinking habit of the earning member.

"Encouraging results to this effect have started coming from hinterland where women have been organising campaign against alcohol," he added.

Source: F. India, March 9, 2016

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