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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…

Lack of drugs latest obstacle for Nevada death penalty; new death chamber under construction at a cost of $858,000

Ely State Prison, Nevada
Ely State Prison, Nevada
LAS VEGAS — Nevada officials face yet another obstacle in carrying out the death penalty if they needed to do so.

One of the two drugs that make up a cocktail in the lethal injection has expired, and the pharmaceutical company that produces it refuses on principle to give the state any more.

The lack of drugs is another hurdle for a state that hasn't had a working execution chamber since 2011. 

A new chamber is under construction in Ely at a cost of $858,000 and should be ready on Nov. 1.

There are 80 people on the state's death row, but none have exhausted their appeals. 

Nevada hasn't had an execution since 2006.

Officials with the Nevada Department of Corrections say they're putting out requests for companies willing to supply lethal injection drugs.

The availability of execution drugs has become an issue in many death penalty states. Texas, by far the nation's most active one, began using a compounding pharmacy as its source when traditional pharmaceutical makers refused to sell their products to prison agencies to be used for executions.

Source: The Associated Press, August 21, 2016


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