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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…

Manila lawmaker files bill reviving death penalty

Philippine police officers
Philippine police officers
A member of the House of Representatives from Metro Manila filed the first bill for the revival of the controversial death penalty in support of the vow of President Rodrigo "Rody" Duterte to stamp out corruption and rampant criminality especially illegal drugs "in 3 to 6 months."

Congressman Ruffy Biazon of Muntinlupa City in Metro Manila said his bill sought to amend the law banning the imposition of capital punishment which Congress had passed in 2004.

"Filing the bill ahead will give the bill (an advantage) so it could be referred to the (appropriate) House committee and hopefully, taken up ahead in its agenda," Biazon pointed out.

Biazon was among the 90 House members who filed their pet bills on the first day of the filing on Thursday before the House and the Senate would open the 16th Congress on July 25 for a joint session to hear Duterte deliver his first state-of-nation address.

Duterte strongly urged the revival of the death penalty to strengthen his vow for an all-out war on corruption and rampant criminality especially illegal drugs which, he warned, were destroying particularly the youth of the land.

But even before Congress could act on its revival, officials said an intensified police campaign resulted in the death of more than 60 suspected "drug lords" and dealers since the May 9 election.

On Friday, police reported that at least 8 more "major" drug dealers - 6 from Bulacan in Central Luzon and 1 each from Sorsogon in the Bicol Region and Negros Oriental in the Visayas - were killed in "shoot-outs" a day after Duterte took his oath as the country's 16th president.

Duterte pressed for the restoration of the death penalty despite strong opposition from Pope Francis as well as local human rights advocates led by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). Without referring to any country, Pope Francis warned against the return of capital punishment in his recent message sent to an international conference against its revival which was hosted by Oslo in Norway.

The Philippine Congress abolished the death penalty and replaced it with life imprisonment which was imposed on "heinous" crimes like plunder, illegal drugs, murder, kidnap-for-ransom, robbery-homicide and rape.

Source: The Gulf Today, July 2, 2016

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