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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…

New Hampshire Senate takes up death penalty suspension bill

New Hampshire
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - New Hampshire lawmakers are deciding whether to suspend the state's death penalty rather than repeal it outright.

The Senate is expected to vote Thursday on a bill sponsored by Republican Sen. Kevin Avard of Nashua. 

The measure would suspend use of the death penalty until "methods exist to ensure that the death penalty cannot be imposed on an innocent person."

New Hampshire is the only state in New England with the death penalty still on the books, and efforts to repeal it in 2014 deadlocked in the 24-member Senate.

Michael Addison, who was convicted of killing a Manchester police officer in 2006, is the state's only person on death row. 

The bill would not affect anyone sentenced to death prior to the suspension.

New Hampshire's last execution was in 1939.

Source: The Associated Press, March 3, 2016

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