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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…

Women more resistant to beheading: Saudi Executioner

Convicted women sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia have been more resistant to beheading than men, prompting authorities to change the execution method to shooting, a well-known Saudi executioner has said.

Abu Bandar Al Bishi, a massive man who has beheaded scores of convicted criminals in public places in the Gulf Kingdom, said most of those brought to the execution area appear to be in “trance” ahead of their death.

Quoted by the Saudi daily Sabq, he denied social media reports that those sentenced to death are drugged just before their execution.

“Those brought for execution are not drugged..there is no medical intervention in their execution…they just appear to be in trance or half dead,” Bishi said.

“As for women, they are more resistant to execution than men…we used to behead them but the verdict has been changed to executing them by shooting.

He said many convicts make requests just before their execution, adding that one asked for a cigarette. “Of course we did not give him a cigarette…if he had asked to pray before his death, then it would have been much better.”

Bishi said he uses a gun to execute women by shooting them in the head, adding that he does not stick to doctor’s instructions to shoot them in the heart.

“The doctor draws a mark towards the heart on the convict’s back…but I shoot them in the head because the bullet may miss the heart target if the convict moves.

Source: Emirates 24/7, May 1, 2016

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