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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…

Sierra Leone to reintroduce death penalty as violent crimes spike

Sierra Leone to reintroduce death penalty
Sierra Leone's Minister of Internal Affairs has said the government would start implementing the death penalty to crack down on recent increase in gang-related killings in the country.

"We will kill when the state demands it," Palo Conteh said on Thursday. "I have called on the Director of Prisons to clean the gallows so that we will not be found wanting when the situation arises."

The gallows at the Male Correctional Center (Prisons) in Freetown have not been used since 1998 because President Koroma had put a moratorium on the death penalty, Conteh said.

"The death penalty is still in our law books and if any one is found guilty of murder we will not hesitate to enforce the law," he said.

Conteh pointed out that his ministry has instituted several methods to curb violence and the rampant killings in the country, in particular Freetown.

Meanwhile, the Sierra Leone police have started the "stop and search" raids in communities that are presumed to engage in violence activities. 

The ministry of internal affairs has also set up special units comprising Operational Support Division Officers together with detectives to go after thugs and cliques.

The minister also asked for the cooperation of the public with the police by informing them of any unusual activity in their community.

Source: Global Times, September 17, 2016

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