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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…

Philippines: Senators won't reimpose death penalty just to accommodate next president

Some senators frowned yesterday on the idea of putting a sunset provision on the proposed restoration of the death penalty, saying lawmakers should vote on the measure based on their convictions.

Incoming Senator Panfilo "Ping" Lacson said the 17th Congress should not pass the measure reimposing the death penalty for just the 6-year duration of the incoming administration only to satisfy President-elect Rodrigo R. Duterte as he goes all out in his campaign against illegal drugs and syndicated crime.

Lacson said he does not believe reimposing the death penalty only during the 6-year term of Duterte would be feasible.

"I don't agree. The Senate is a self-respecting institution and should not legislate to please the incumbent president of the Philippines, which obviously is what will be projected to our people if we include a sunset provision limiting the effectivity of the proposed legislation on the restoration of the death penalty," Lacson said in a text message.

"My take is, either we vote for or against the measure once it reaches the Senate floor depending on our own conviction but definitely not to accommodate the President of the Republic," he said.

It was Sen. Ralph Recto who earlier proposed that death penalty be restored but only during the 6 years of the Duterte administration.

For his part, Sen. Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III said he sees no need for a sunset provision on the measure since laws can be repealed.

"That's a novel approach, but we might open new debates about that on the constitutionality of the provisions," Pimentel said in an interview over DWIZ.

Source: Manila Bulletin, June 14, 2016

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