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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…

China: Man sentenced to death for mass nursing home killing

April 1, 2016: A man who attacked a nursing home, killing nine people and injuring nine others in 2015, was sentenced to death by a court in central China's Hunan Province.

Luo Renchu, a nursing worker, randomly attacked elderly people and staff at the nursing home after a dispute with the owner over unpaid wages, according to the ruling of the Intermediate People's Court of Loudi City.

The attack happened on Feb. 19, 2015, the Spring Festival, at Aixin Nursing Home, Yongfeng Township, Shuangfeng County. 

The nursing home owed Luo and his wife, also a nursing worker, unpaid wages of about 40,000 yuan (6,200 U.S. dollars).

Luo had asked for the wages many times and had been promised 10,000 yuan before Spring Festival but only received 6,000 yuan.

Luo sought revenge by attacking the home's residents with a brick as they slept in the belief it would cause the owners to lose money. 

He was arrested two days later. 

Sources: Xinhua News Agency, Hands Off Cain, April 1, 2016

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