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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…

Indonesian Worker Sentenced to Death in Malaysia for Drug Smuggling

Malaysian immigration officers find drugs hidden in a passenger's luggage.
Malaysian immigration officers find drugs hidden in a passenger's luggage.
Jakarta. 28-year-old Indonesian worker Rita Krisdianti was sentenced to death by a Malaysian court on Monday (30/05) for smuggling 4 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine.

Rita, of Ponorogo in East Java, was charged with drug trafficking after immigration officers at Penang Airport apprehended her with the drugs on July 10, 2013, after arriving on a flight from Hong Kong.

The drugs were found in a package hidden in Rita's luggage by immigration officers. Rita at that time claimed she had intended to travel to Thailand by bus from Penang on a business trip for her small clothing company.

During her trials, Rita never admitted to the court that the drugs belonged to her.

The court failed to secure testimonies from two key witnesses, a Thai and an Indian national, before issuing the death penalty.

Nusron Wahid, chairman of the Placement and Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers Office, or BNP2TKI, said the government will file an appeal to the Penang District Court, expecting that “at least there will be no death penalty for Rita.”

The Golkar Party politician is optimistic Malaysia will not execute an Indonesian citizen to maintain a good relationship with its giant neighbor.

Anis Hidayah, the executive director of advocacy group Migrant Care, said Rita was just another victim of drug syndicates which routinely exploit desperate migrant workers to be their drug mules.

According to Anis' account, Rita received the luggage from an Indian national in New Delhi who asked her to deliver it to another person in Thailand.

Before her arrest, Rita had already been returned by her boss to her agent after working for only three months.

“Migrant Care urges the government to investigate and fight drug syndicates who exploit migrant workers for drug-trafficking,” Anis said.

Source: Jakarta Globe, May 31, 2016

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