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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…

As Lindsay Sandiford turns 60, supporter claims there is hope for Redcar death row gran

L. Sandiford (center) knitting with other inmate in a Kerobokan prison cell
Lindsay Sandiford (center) knitting with other inmates in a Kerobokan prison cell
As she marks what could be her final birthday, sources close to death row gran Lindsay Sandiford say she isn't about to be executed.

The convicted Redcar drug mule will spend her 60th birthday today in the squalid Indonesian prison she's languished in since she was sentenced to death in 2012.

There were fears that the birthday would be her last, with reports she may be among one of 16 people shot following the Muslim holiday of Eid.

However a supporter, who has flown to Bali to be with her on her birthday, has told the Gazette "Lindsay is not listed for execution."

Christie Buckingham of Bayside Church jetted in from Australia to spend time with her friend during what she said was a "very sensitive time" for the grandmother.

"At this stage she is concentrating on getting her appeal in place," she added.

Another senior source close to the case confirmed Sandiford is not scheduled to be 1 of the 16 prisoners executed in the latest round of executions.

"She is working on her appeal and still has legal avenues left which I expect her to use," said the source.

"Certainly there is no indication that she will be executed in the very near future."

Sandiford has been in Bali's notorious Kerobokan Prison since she admitted trying to smuggle cocaine worth 1.6m pounds on to the paradise island.

Despite her plight, it is understood she's shunned consular assistance since 2014.

Instead she has received backing from thousands of Facebook supporters as well as the church.

There had been hope she could be spared a trip to a beauty spot dubbed "death island", where the Government carry out executions.

Indonesian authorities had halted executions for "economic reasons" [after they resumed in 2015], with 2 of the mum's Australian friends [Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan] killed.

A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesman said: "We oppose the death penalty in all circumstances and have made repeated representations on the issue to the Indonesian government at the highest levels."

Source: gazettelive.co.uk, June 25, 2016

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