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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…

6x9: A virtual experience of solitary confinement

The Guardian's virtual reality video sends you to solitary. Could you handle it for a day? A decade?

What’s it like to spend 23 hours a day in a cell measuring 6x9 feet for days, weeks, months or even years? 

6x9 is the Guardian's first virtual reality experience, which places you inside a US solitary confinement prison cell and tells the story of the psychological damage that can ensue from isolation.

We've created a mobile app allowing you to fully experience VR on your own, with or without cardboard viewer. If you don't have a smartphone scroll down to watch the 360° video.


Human beings quietly design these dungeons where other human beings go insane.

"Un camp de concentration se construit comme un stade ou un grand hôtel, avec des entrepreneurs, des devis, de la concurrence, sans doute des pots-de-vin.
Pas de style imposé, c’est laissé à l’imagination : style alpin, style garage, style japonais, sans style. Les architectes inventent calmement ces porches destinés à n’être franchis qu’une seule fois.
Pendant ce temps, Burger, ouvrier allemand, Sterne, étudiant juif d'Amsterdam, Schmulszki, marchand de Cracovie, Annette, lycéenne de Bordeaux, vivent leur vie de tous les jours sans savoir qu’ils ont déjà, à mille kilomètres de chez eux, une place assignée.
Et le jour vient où leurs blocks sont terminés, où il ne manque plus qu’eux."
-- Jean Cayrol, Nuit et Brouillard
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