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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…

In a first, drug dealer gets death penalty in West Bengal

Kolkata street
Kolkata street
Almost 14 years after he was arrested, a Barasat court has ordered Karaya resident Anwar Rehman - who was found guilty of supplying heroin in Kolkata and was arrested with over 53.5 kg of it- to be hanged till death. 

For the 1st time a court in Bengal has awarded death sentence in a NDPS case.

Rehman was arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) of India. Anirban Das, the sixth additional district session judge gave death sentence to Anshar Rahaman (62) and sentenced his accomplice Dipak Giri (47) to 30 years of rigorous imprisonment.

NCB officials explained that a death penalty is usually awarded in rarest of circumstances - gene rally when the quantity recovered is huge and the accused is a repeat offender. In 2002, the cost of the confiscated drug was estimated to over Rs 53.5 crore.

Officials in the NCB said that their charge sheet carried enough evidence that prove Rehman had links with some "influential people" in the city. His supplies would come from Pakistan through Rajasthan. While carrying out the probe, the NCB officials got in touch with narcotic officials in Bangladesh, Nepal, Australia some other countries.

Officials said that Rehman had once gone to Switzerland in early 2002 and stayed there for 6 months. "He claimed that he had gone on a holiday with his son but had no evidence to suggest that he had he met drug dealers there,''explained an officer.

Rehman had reportedly invested Rs 1.5 crore to procure the heroin that was seized by the sleuths. 

NCB officers said Rehman had paid the money to his Rajasthan contacts in mid-September in 2002. "We are trying to find out how he got so much money to invest," the NCB director said.

Source: The Times of India, April 8, 2016

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