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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…

U.S.: Black Lives Matter releases platform calling for an end to the death penalty

Black Lives Matter
More than 50 organizations linked to the Black Lives Matter movement came together to draft its 1st policy platform, released Monday. 

"We seek radical transformation, not reactionary reform," Michaela Brown, a spokeswoman for Baltimore Bloc, an organization that worked on the platform, said. "As the 2016 election continues, this platform provides us with a way to intervene with an agenda that resists state and corporate power, an opportunity to implement policies that truly value the safety and humanity of black lives, and an overall means to hold elected leaders accountable." 

The platform demands reparations for slavery, investment in education and jobs, an end to the death penalty, the "demilitarization" of police departments, and decriminalization of prostitution and drug-related offenses.

Source: theweek.com, August 2, 2016

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