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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…

Philippines: Duterte vows to bring back death penalty

Rodrigo Duterte
Rodrigo Duterte
Philippines President-elect Rodrigo Duterte has vowed to reintroduce capital punishment and give security forces permission to shoot to kill.

The controversial policies are the latest in a series from the soon-to-be leader, including bans on alcohol and smoking and a curfew for children.

He has also promised to turn the presidential palace into a hospital.

Mr Duterte was nicknamed "The Punisher" for his record as the crime-crushing mayor of the southern town of Davao.

More than 1,000 criminals were killed by security forces in Davao during Mr Duterte's stewardship.

Speaking at a press conference in the town, Mr Duterte, 71, said: "What I will do is to urge Congress to restore the death penalty by hanging."

He said permission to shoot to kill would be given for organised crime figures and people resisting arrest.

Mr Duterte courted controversy throughout his election campaign, threatening to kill drug dealers and dump them in Manila Bay.

He vowed to give himself and members of the security forces immunity from prosecution after leaving office, saying: "Pardon given to Rodrigo Duterte for the crime of multiple murder, signed Rodrigo Duterte."

Last month a video emerged showing the candidate joking about an Australian woman who was raped and murdered in Davao while he was mayor, saying she was so beautiful "the mayor should have been 1st".

In 2015, Human Rights Watch described Mr Duterte as the "death squad mayor" for his strong-arm tactics in Davao.

Source: BBC news, May 15, 2016

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