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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…

North Korea: Kim Jong-Un Strengthens Reign of Terror

North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un
North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un
August 12, 2016: North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is said to be strengthening his reign of terror.

According to a source with inside knowledge of North Korea, Pyongyang authorities were known to have publicly executed 60 North Koreans so far this year. 

The source said it was more than twice the average number of people killed annually in public executions since Kim took power in 2011.

The source added that the economic situation in the North has worsened due to toughest international sanctions against the regime early this year, and authorities are using these executions to control growing public complaints against North Korean leaders.

The source said that many of those being killed are family members left behind by defectors, and brokers arranging the defectors' escape routes, as they are perceived to be a threat to the stability of the regime.

According to another source, the North’s Ministry of State Security executed scores of defectors' families and defection brokers in early February on charges of espionage.

The source added that around 10 brokers were executed by a firing squad in Hyesan, Yanggang Province in April. 

Source: world.kbs.co.kr, August 12, 2016

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