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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…

5 Taiwanese arrested in Indonesia for smuggling 60 kg of meth

Indonesian Police Officers in Cilacap, Central Java, off Nusakambangan penal island
Indonesia police arrested 5 Taiwanese suspects Thursday during a raid on a private residence in Jakarta, where they found 60 kilograms of the drug of methamphetamine, according to Indonesian authorities.

Investigators have determined that the drug was being supplied by a crime ring based in Taiwan, said Indonesian National Police spokesman Boy Rafli Amar on Thursday.

During the raid on the apartment in Ancol, North Jakarta, police arrested 1 Indonesian and 5 Taiwanese, who are now being interrogated, he said.

It is not the 1st time that Taiwanese drug suspects have been arrested in Indonesia, a county where the maximum penalty for drug offenses is death.

In January, the Supreme Court of Indonesia sentenced 3 Taiwanese to death for attempting to smuggle more than 2 kilograms of amphetamine each into the country, through Jakarta International Airport, in 2014.

A few months later, in April, Indonesian police arrested another Taiwanese suspect in Jakarta who was found with 12 kg of methamphetamine.

Earlier this month, a Taiwanese citizen was arrested in Jakarta after 15 kg of methamphetamine was found at his residence.

Source: Focus Taiwan, August 20, 2016

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