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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: PM Changes His Mind on Death Sentences for Rapists

Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha
Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha
Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha has now decided he does not support calls for the death penalty for rapists.

Only last month he ordered the legal community and judiciary to ensure that convicted rapists are sentenced to death saying, 'foreign countries tackle rape cases by resorting to capital punishment.' He asked 'is it possible in Thailand? The judicial sector must undertake this.'

Since then, and in the wake of the murder of a young teacher in Saraburi, there has been public support for the idea. And calls for the Criminal Code to be amended to reflect this and condemn those guilty of rape to death. But now the Prime Minister says he does not support this idea anymore.

He has explained that many countries have repealed laws such as this as they have been shown not to act as an effective deterrent. 'Let's look at the world around us,' he said. 'Many countries have already abolished the death penalty. They do not 'promote respect for the law and in solving the problem at hand in a sustainable fashion.'

The leader of the Thai military has warned that the death penalty for rape cases may result in an abuse of power and would rather see convicted rapists exposed to social pressures in order to discourage them from committing similar crimes again.

He might have added that long jail sentences could also discourage such repeated offences.

The Deputy Prime Minister, and Defence Minister General, Prawit Wongsuwan, has only said that public opinion and legal counsel from experts will need to be taken into account when a final decision is taken by the National Legislative Assembly.

Source: Pattaya News, July 5, 2016

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