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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 inmate who survived '09 execution appeals to high court

Romell Broom
Romell Broom
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A condemned Ohio killer who survived a 2009 botched execution is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to declare that a second attempt to put him to death would be unconstitutional.

Lawyers for death row inmate Romell Broom argue that giving the state prisons agency a second chance would amount to cruel and unusual punishment and double jeopardy.

A divided Ohio Supreme Court rejected Broom's arguments in March. 

Broom's attorneys appealed that ruling earlier this month to the U.S. Supreme Court and filed notice of that appeal on Monday with the state court.

The state stopped Broom's execution after two hours when executioners failed to find a usable vein following 18 attempts to insert needles.

The 60-year-old Broom is only the second inmate in U.S. history to survive an attempted execution.

Source: The Associated Press, August 23, 2016

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