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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…

Thailand's PM calls for death penalty for rapists

Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha
Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha
PRIME Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday ordered the legal community and judiciary to ensure that convicted rapists are sentenced to death.

"Foreign countries tackle rape cases by resorting to capital punishment," the prime minister said.

"Is it possible in Thailand? The judicial sector must undertake this.''

Prayut added that he also wanted legislators to review the punishment of suspects who are accused of serious crimes, which if prosecuted will create far-reaching consequences for the public.

"Is it possible that we impose heavier punishment for offenders in serious crimes? Some offences carry only Bt1,000 to Bt2,000 fines.

"This is not right because the country has to spend resources in putting these cases through trial of hundreds of thousands to millions [of baht],'' he said.

Prayut made the remarks on the occasion of world Anti-Human Trafficking Day while presiding over an awards presentation ceremony for officials who have succeeded in prosecuting offenders in human trafficking cases.

The PM said he wanted officials to take proactive measures to prevent crimes, not only reward officers who made arrests.

"But I admit some problems like prostitution are caused by poverty as no one wants to become a prostitute. We arrest offenders who are poor and they have nothing to eat. Why do we have to do it? We have to set everything right,'' Prayut said.

He added that the government aimed to achieve a 90-per-cent success rate in the fight against human trafficking, which would signal that the country was almost crime-free.

"To achieve this goal, one country cannot solve the problem," Prayut said. "We must build up a network and seek cooperation with Asean countries to prevent the problem at upstream, middle-stream and downstream levels."

Source: The Nation, June 7, 2016

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