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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…

Florida death row inmate wants early execution

Wayne Doty
Wayne Doty
BRADFORD COUNTY, Fla.--A two-time convicted murderer is asking for mercy from the courts, but not for a lesser sentence. Wayne Doty, who is on death row, wants to waive his right to counsel and be executed without post conviction proceedings.

The Bradford County Courthouse held a hearing to first determine if Wayne Doty was competent. This morning we heard from three expert witnesses testifying Doty is competent enough to make an informed decision and recognizes the consequences of his decision. One witness even stated Doty, who has an 8th grade formal education, was of above average intelligence and his reasonings for wanting to be executed now were logical.

After Judge Nilon found Doty competent, the Court proceeded with a Durocher/Faretta hearing to determine whether Doty can not only discharge his counsel, but also dismiss pending post conviction proceedings in both state and federal courts. The judge said it was his obligation as a judge, and human being, to advise Doty to reconsider. In response, Doty said he would stick with his decision and feels he deserves he punishment that's been given.

The hearing lasted about four hours and Judge Nilon listened as Doty made his case for continuing without an attorney. Doty admitted during his initial trial, he didn't have any emotional feelings toward the victims or their families. However now, Doty wants everybody he hurt to move on and he doesn't think that can happen while he's still in prison.

"I've been a prosecutor since 1973," says state attorney Bill Cervone, "and this is the first time I've been through a proceeding like this where a defendant is as articulate and specific in outlining his requests that all proceedings stop and that the sentence of the law be carried out."

The judge did not make a ruling on the Durocher/Faretta hearing today, but says he hopes to rule in a reasonable time.

"Once the judge enters his order, whatever that may be, an automatic appeal [will be made] to the Florida Supreme Court," says Cervone.

At this time we do not know when the judge will make his ruling. Even when his decision is made, we won't know when the Florida Supreme Court can hear Doty's case.

Source: wcjb.com, April 1, 2016

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