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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…

Ohio execution dates now stretch in 2020

The list of convicted Ohio killers waiting to die keeps growing, with execution dates now stretching into 2020.

As has been the case for 2 years, however, the lethal injection drugs required to execute them aren't available.

The Ohio Supreme Court set 2 new execution dates in the past week, bringing the total to 28 scheduled over the next 4 years. 

Added were John E. Drummond of Mahoning County for Sept. 17, 2020, and Nathaniel Jackson of Trumbull County on July 15, 2020.

Another 26 men are ahead of them, beginning with Ronald Phillips, of Summit County, on Jan. 12, 2017. Phillips is the 1st of 11 slated to die next year at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility nearly Lucasville. Another 8 are on the list in 2018 and 7 are scheduled in 2019.

The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction has not found drugs required for the executions.

"DRC continues to seek all legal means to obtain the drugs necessary to carry out court-ordered executions," spokeswoman JoEllen Smith said.

Prison officials have tried several methods to buy drugs, including from overseas sources, and Ohio "compounding pharmacies," which mix drugs to customer specifications. Neither panned out. Most major manufacturers have either stopped making drugs used for lethal injection or refuse to sell them to states for executions. The problem affects all states with the death penalty.

3 killers from Franklin County are on the list: Alva Campbell, Jr., May 10, 2017; Warren K. Henness, Feb. 13, 2018; and Kareem M. Jackson, July 10, 2019

8 men on the death list are from Hamilton County, 6 from Lucas County, and 4 from Cuyahoga County.

Ohio law only allows lethal injection in capital punishment cases. The electric chair was decommissioned in November 2001. The law does not permit other forms of execution.

Source: Columbus Dispatch, August 31, 2016

Court sets execution date for condemned killer of 3-year-old


The Ohio Supreme Court has set a 2020 execution date for a gang member who fatally shot a 3-year-old boy.

The court ruled 6-1 Tuesday in the case of John Drummond. Drummond was convicted of killing 3-month-old Jiyen Dent Jr. in March 2003 when a bullet hit him in the head as he was sitting in a baby swing in the living room of his home.

Authorities said Drummond and an accomplice fired 11 shots from an assault rifle and several more from a 9 mm handgun into the homes of the child and a neighbor in Youngstown.

The court scheduled a Sept. 17, 2020 execution date for the 39-year-old Drummond.

The execution's likelihood is unclear since the state has struggled to find supplies of lethal injection drugs.

Source: The Republic, August 31, 2016

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