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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…

Singapore: Stay of execution for Kho Jabing

Singapore's Changi Prison, Kho Jabing
Singapore's Changi Prison, Kho Jabing
SINGAPORE: Malaysian Jabing Kho’s death sentence was stayed tonight, according to a spokesman of the Attorney-General’s Chambers.

She said the appeal hearing for the Sarawakan was at 9am tomorrow, at the Court of Appeal.

Kho’s lawyer, Jeanette Chong-Aruldoss had succesfully filed a notice of appeal to the Court of Appeal by order of the High Court.

Earlier, Chong had urgently filed an originating summons to the High Court to secure a stay of execution but it was dismissed by Judicial Commissioner Kannan Ramesh.

She was given till 11 tonight to make an appeal against the dismissal, thus prompting the postponement of the execution.

Earlier today, the Court of Appeal dismissed Kho’s application to escape the death sentence scheduled for tomorrow.

Another lawyer appearing for Kho, Gino Hardial Singh filed an application, challenging the court’s judgment on grounds of apparent bias as Court of Appeal judge Andrew Phang had sat on both of Jabing’s appeal hearings.

Phang sat in a coram involving Jabing’s case in 2010, and again in 2013.

The proceeding was held in front of Judges of Appeal Chao Hick Tin and Phang, and justices Woo Bih Li, Lee Seiu Kin and Chan Seng Onn.

Kho’s family received a letter from the Singapore Prison Service last week, stating that he would be executed tomorrow.

Kho, 31, was sentenced to hang six years ago for killing a man in a robbery attempt but successfully made an appeal in 2013, following amendments to Singapore’s mandatory death penalty law.

Following that, he was re-sentenced to life imprisonment with 24 strokes of the cane.

However, the prosecution appealed, urging the Court of Appeal to reverse the re-sentencing judge’s decision and sent Kho to face the hangman’s noose on April 5, 2016.

In November 2015, his lawyer launched a criminal motion to reduce his sentence and was granted a stay on his sentence for the lawyer to prepare his case again.

Kho and fellow Sarawakian Galing Anak Kujat had reportedly killed construction worker Cao Ruyin during a robbery attempt in Geylang Drive.

Source: Free Malaysia Today, May 20, 2016 (local time)


Singapore reprieves Malaysian murderer hours before execution

Kho Jabing, 31, was scheduled to be hanged at dawn on Friday, but wins stay of execution for 2nd time due to appeal

A Singaporean court has stopped the planned execution of a convicted murderer for a 2nd time, hours before he was scheduled to be hanged.

Kho Jabing, 31, was expected by his family and rights groups to be executed at dawn on Friday but was granted a stay of execution following a last-minute application by his lawyer on Thursday evening exploiting a legal loophole.

Singapore's Changi Prison
Singapore's Changi Prison
Kho, who is Malaysian, was sentenced to death in 2010 for killing a Chinese construction worker in a robbery gone wrong 2 years earlier, and spent the next 6 years on a legal rollercoaster trying to avoid the gallows.

His family said on Tuesday they had received a letter from prison authorities setting his execution for Friday.

On Thursday a 5-member appeal court dismissed an 11th-hour application to set aside the death sentence, but the defence lawyer Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss filed a separate suit against the attorney general asking to halt the execution.

Permission was denied after a 2-hour hearing that stretched late into the night, but under Singapore law all court decisions can be appealed against.

That appeal will be heard on Friday morning at the court of appeal, and in the meantime Kho's execution is on hold.

The Singaporean president has refused to grant clemency to Kho.

There was no immediate statement from Malaysia, which also has capital punishment.

Amnesty International Malaysia and Human Rights Watch have both released statements calling on Singapore to halt the execution and review the case.

After Kho was sentenced to death in 2010, Singapore amended its mandatory death penalty for murder, giving judges the discretion to impose life imprisonment under certain circumstances.

Kho's case was reviewed and he was re-sentenced to a life term in 2013. But after an appeal by prosecutors, Kho's death sentence was reinstated in January 2015.

Another appeal, which stayed his execution scheduled for November 2015, was thrown out last month.

Singapore executed 4 people in 2015, 1 for murder and 3 for drug offences, according to Singaporean prison statistics.

Rights groups have called on Singapore to abolish capital punishment, but the government argues that it is a deterrent to crime.

Source: The Guardian, May 19, 2016

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