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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: Nurse who murdered fiance sentenced to death

A 28-year-old nurse was sentenced to death yesterday for murdering her fiance by injecting him with insulin when he was unconscious, the Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate People's Court said.

According to the court, the condemned woman, surnamed Tao, a nurse at Shanghai No.6 Hospital's branch in the Pudong New Area, got into a row with the victim, surnamed Luo, when they were preparing for their wedding.

Already suspecting him of dishonesty, she became angry when he asked to delay the ceremony, which was to be held in January last year.

Between December 2014 and March 2015, Tao obtained a large amount of sleeping tablets at the hospital and bought poisonous chemicals such as potassium cyanide and pesticide online.

She also took some insulin - a substance used to control diabetes - from the hospital. Excessive insulin can cause a sharp decrease in a person's blood sugar and affect their central nervous system.

On April 1, Tao gave Luo a drink of water laced with sleeping tablets at her residence in Xuhui District.

After he fell asleep, Tao injected him with a fatal dose of insulin.

Tao's mother and aunt reported Luo's death to local police the next day, and officers soon identified Tao as the suspect.

Tao claimed that Luo had caused his own death by taking sleeping tablets, but later confessed to the murder during questioning.

The court ruled that because Tao is a nurse who used her professional knowledge to commit the murder, she deserved the death penalty.

Tao decided not to appeal against the sentence.

Source: Shanghai Daily, April 14, 2016

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