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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…

Indonesia: Investigators to Question 3 Officers Named by Executed Drug Convict in Video

Executed drug kingpin Freddy Budiman shortly before his execution
Executed drug kingpin Freddy Budiman shortly before his execution
An independent police-initiated team is planning to question 3 officers whose names were mentioned by a convict in a video made by government officials shortly before his execution.

The independent team, which was set up to investigate the presumed complicity of state officials and law enforcers in drug crimes, is probing allegations that members of the National Police, National Narcotics Agency (BNN) and Indonesian Military (TNI) had helped slain drug convict Freddy Budiman run his business.

Freddy mentioned at least 3 names in the video that otherwise mainly depicts his spiritual journey inside the prison, team member Hendardi said. The team has obtained the copy from the directorate general for penitentiary affairs at the Justice and Human Rights Ministry.

"We are currently examining and discussing the video. We will follow up on it by questioning the officers, if necessary," Hendardi told the Jakarta Globe on Tuesday (30/08).

Freddy had allegedly given in kickbacks more than Rp 450 billion ($34 million) to the BNN and Rp 90 billion to the National Police officers.

"The names are not related to the flow of funds as confessed by Freddy Budiman to Haris Azhar," Hendardi said refusing to reveal the names or initials of the suspected officers.

Freddy had confessed about the officers' involvement in his drug business to human rights activist Haris Azhar when they met on the Nusakambangan prison island 2 years ago. Haris revealed Freddy's testimony last month, shortly before the convict faced the firing squad.

"The video also contains Freddy Budiman's advice on how to eradicate the circulation of drugs inside the prison. He also called for tighter supervision of drug inmates," Hendardi said.

Source: Jakarta Globe, September 1, 2016

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