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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…

Board of Pardons and Paroles denies clemency for Georgia death row inmate scheduled to die Wednesday

Daniel Lucas
Daniel Lucas
The state parole board has denied clemency for a Georgia death row inmate scheduled to die this week.

Daniel Anthony Lucas is set to be put to death Wednesday at the state prison in Jackson by injection of the barbiturate pentobarbital.

The State Board of Pardons and Paroles is the only entity authorized to commute a death sentence in Georgia. The board denied clemency Tuesday after holding a hearing.

Lucas was sentenced to death for the April 1998 killings of 37-year-old Steven Moss, his 11-year-old son Bryan and 15-year-old daughter Kristin, who interrupted a burglary at their home near Macon in central Georgia.

Lucas' lawyers have said his childhood was plagued by drugs and violence. 

They say he's been reformed in prison and should be spared.

Lucas would be the 5th inmate executed in Georgia this year.

Source: Associated Press, April 26, 2016

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