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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…

Egypt court spares ousted president Mohamed Morsi the death penalty

An Egyptian court recommended death sentences on Saturday for 6 codefendants of Mohamed Morsi but not for the ousted Islamist president in their trial on espionage charges.

The presiding judge in the trial asked the mufti -- the country's official interpreter of Islamic law -- to consider death sentences for the 6 codefendants, saying the court would convene again on June 18 after the mufti's response.

It will then pronounce its verdict and sentence for the remaining 5 defendants, including Morsi, on charges of having supplied Qatar with classified documents.

Egyptian law requires the mufti to sign off on death sentences. 

His opinion is not binding but is usually respected by courts.

Qatar was a main backer of Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood movement while he was in power between 2012 and July 2013, when the military overthrew and detained him.

He has since been sentenced to death, life in prison and 20 years in three separate trials.

Source: Agence France-Presse, May 7, 2016

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