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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…

Turkey's President Erdogan refuses to rule out death penalty

Military coup in Turkey
Turkey's President has refused to rule out the death penalty for the thousands of people arrested following a violent failed military coup Friday.

"There is a clear crime of treason and your request can never be rejected by our government," said President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaking through his translator in a world exclusive interview with CNN's Becky Anderson at his presidential palace in Istanbul, Turkey.

"But of course it will take a parliamentary decision for that to take action in the form of a constitutional measure so leaders will have to get together and discuss it and if they accept to discuss it then I as president will approve any decision that comes out of the parliament."

This is the 1st interview given by the president since the attempted military coup on Friday, July 15.

If Turkey does reintroduce the death penalty, it won't be joining the European Union, according to EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini earlier Monday.

Commenting on people's calls for the death penalty for coup plotters, Erdogan said: "'Why should I keep them and feed them in prisons, for years to come?' -- that's what the people say."

"They want a swift end to it, because people lost relatives, lost neighbors, lost children... they're suffering so the people are very sensitive and we have to act very sensibly and sensitively," he added.

The comments come in the wake of Friday's failed military coup and the president's vow over the weekend that those responsible "will pay a heavy price for this act of treason."

A total of 8,777 officers from the Turkish Ministry of Interior have so far been removed from office, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency.

Among the arrested are 103 generals and admirals -- 1/3 of the general-rank command of the Turkish military.

A formal written request for the extradition of Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, who is in self-imposed exile in the United States, will be submitted within days, Erdogan told Anderson.

When asked what he would do if the U.S. refused to extradite Gulen, he said "we have a mutual agreement of extradition of criminals."

"So now you ask someone to be extradited, you're my strategic partner I do obey, I do abide by that, but you don't do the same thing -- well, of course, there should be reciprocity in the types of things," the president continued.

Erdogan has previously blamed Gulen for the attempted coup -- a claim which Gulen has denied.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. hadn't yet received a formal request from Turkey for Gulen's extradition.

Source: CNN, July 18, 2016


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