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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…

Kenya to abolish death penalty

Nairobi, Kenya
Nairobi, Kenya
The death penalty in Kenya could be abolished by 2019.

Chief State Counsel Emily Chweya has said the government is set to undertake public awareness on the need to abolish death penalty before implementation in 2019.

Chweya said this follows recommendations given to the government in January 2015 after Kenya's human rights performance was reviewed by state delegations in Geneva.

"The government will undertake public perception survey on the need for the abolition of the death penalty before a review of the perception is made", she said.

"In efforts by the government to abolish the penalty, we intend to amend the provisions of the penal code for abolition which will be adopted before 2019," Chweya said.

She said the process will be measured by the number of sensitization forums held, findings of the public perception survey and the adoption of the revised penal code.

Chweya said the state delegations had also recommended that the government conforms the juvenile justice system to be in accordance with international standards so as to "prevent children from being legally accountable".

"Our immediate indicators is to have Children's Act reviewed and enacted to increase the age of criminal responsibility from 8 to 12 years despite incorporating the juvenile justice systems," Chweya said.

She reiterated their action plan was to enact and operationalize the legal aid act by establishing and funding the National Legal Aid Service Board.

Source: The Star, June 3, 2016

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