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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…

Sarawakian Kho Jabing on death row in Singapore to know fate next week

Kho Jabing
Kho Jabing
A Malaysian man who faces the gallows in Singapore will find out next Tuesday whether his sentence is commuted by the country's Court of Appeal.

Kho Jabing, 31, who is from Ulu Baram, Sarawak faces the gallows for killing a Chinese construction worker with a tree branch back in 2008 during a robbery attempt.

He was scheduled to be executed on Nov 6 last year but received a stay the day before, after his lawyer filed a motion raising points of law about the way the case was handled.

We Believe in Second Chances founder Kirsten Han said the Singapore-based non-governmental organisation was making arrangements to bring Jabing's family to Singapore.

"Jabing's judgement will be out on Tuesday 5 April, 9.30am at the Court of Appeal," she told The Star Online on Thursday.

Jabing was sentenced to death in 2010 but in August 2013, following revisions to Singapore's mandatory death penalty laws, the High Court sentenced him to life and 24 strokes of the cane instead.

The prosecution challenged the decision before the Court of Appeal, which again sentenced Jabing to death in a 3-2 majority decision earlier this year.

On Oct 19, Singapore president Tony Tan rejected a clemency petition before a stay of execution by the Court of Appeal.

In 2013, the Singapore government amended the mandatory death penalty that gave judges the discretion to choose between death and life imprisonment with caning for all but the most serious category of murder, as well as certain cases of drug trafficking.

Source: The Star, March 31, 2016

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