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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…

Two Suspected Taiwanese Drug Smugglers Arrested in Bali

Taiwanese nationals Yu Tsai Chen (44) and Hsiao Tzu Hung (30) allegedly smuggled 70 kilos of crystal methamphetamine into Indonesia
Taiwanese nationals Yu Tsai Chen (44) and Hsiao Tzu Hung (30) allegedly
smuggled 70 kilos of crystal methamphetamine into Indonesia. (JG)
Denpasar. Police and immigration officers arrested two Taiwanese nationals who allegedly smuggled 70 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine to the country last week at I Gusti Ngurah Rai Airport in Denpasar, Bali, on Saturday (28/05).

Speaking to reporters in Denpasar on Sunday, Ronny F. Sompie, the Justice Ministry's Immigration Affairs general director, said immigration officers and police at the airport nabbed the Taiwanese nationals when they were about to leave for Taiwan at around 2 p.m. on Saturday.

Yu Tsai Chen (44) and Hsiao Tzu Hung (30) allegedly smuggled 70 kilos of crystal methamphetamine, known by its street name "sabu," by hiding it in small generators.

The two were recorded entering Bali on Monday last week. On Tuesday, police found the same amount of crystal methamphetamine packed into 14 different bags at the Arcadia Housing Complex in Tangerang, Banten.

Two couriers working for a drug syndicate reportedly led by the Taiwanese duo—identified by their initials S and A—were also arrested during the drug bust.

Chen and Hung have so far refused to admit the drugs found in Tangerang belonged to them. Both will be flown to Jakarta for further interrogation.

Last month, police seized more than 80 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine—most of them smuggled from China and Iran in chocolate parcels and glue bottles—during a three-week raid in the Greater Jakarta area. Nine people, including four Malaysian, Chinese, Iranian and Nigerian nationals, were arrested during the bust.

Source: Jakarta Globe, May 30, 2016

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