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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…

Indonesia: Drugs seized in Kerobokan prison raid

Bali's Kerobokan prison
Bali's Kerobokan prison
Hundreds of ecstasy pills and 15 small packages of crystal methamphetamine or shabu-shabu have been seized during a raid at Kerobokan Penitentiary in Bali.

The raid, conducted by a joint security team comprising personnel from the Law and Human Rights Ministry, National Narcotics Agency (BNN), police and military, took place on Thursday morning. 

Two inmates were subsequently taken to the police station on suspicion of dealing drugs within the prison.

Bali Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Hery Wiyanto said the drugs had been found in cells inside the prison. 

He declined to give more details about the two inmates taken to the police station. "We will conduct further investigations to uncover the prison drug ring," Hery said.

In the raid, which started at 4 a.m. local time, the joint team searched all blocks in the prison.

Apart from drugs, several glass pipes or "bongs", sharp weapons and a number of mobile phones were also confiscated in the raid. 

In a urine test, six inmates also tested positive for drugs.

Kerobokan prison warden Slamet Prihantara professed ignorance at how the narcotics had entered the prison, and called on the police to investigate further.

"If any prison guards are involved [in the drug ring], they will be fired," Slamet said.

He added that the prison authorities had recently conducted a string of raids to clean up the prison from drugs.

A shortage of prison guards was partly to blame for the prevalence of drugs, he went on. "We have only 12 prison guards to handle and monitor more than 1,100 inmates," Slamet revealed.

Source: Jakarta Post, April 16, 2016

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