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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…

Manny Pacquiao on death penalty: It's in the Bible

Emmanuel "Manny" Pacquiao
Emmanuel "Manny" Pacquiao
Newly-proclaimed Senator-elect Emmanuel "Manny" Pacquiao made it to his first press conference as Upper House legislator and said he is in favor of death penalty.

Speaking to the media shortly after his proclamation Thursday at the PICC, Pacquiao said that the capital punishment is actually based on the Bible.

Pacquiao also wanted to push for better education for Filipinos.

The world-renowned boxer first forayed into politics as a representative for Sarangani. His stint as a legislator was hounded by his absences. In 2014, his absences hit notorious levels after being only able to show up for work 4 times.

In his 1st term that spanned from 2010 to 2013, he only appeared in 98 times in the Congress's 168 working days.

Pacquiao's best moment as a legislator came in a speech against human trafficking. But that was swiftly negated when he was put under the spotlight during a lengthy discussion of the Reproductive Health Bill.

Earlier this year, Pacquiao's chances in the senatorial race were believed to dim after his scathing remarks that targeted the members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) community - which also drew flak on social media.

But even after the comments, Pacquiao still managed to secure 16,050,546 votes, propelling him to 7th place in the "Magic 12" candidates who made the cut.

Pacquiao ranked ahead of tested politicians former Sen. Francis Pangilinan, former Rep. Risa Hontiveros and former Sen. Ralph Recto.

Asked if his absences will continue to plague his career as a politician, Pacquiao noted that he won't make any promises.

Source: Philippine Star, May 19, 2016

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