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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…

Australian teenager Jamie Murphy arrested in Bali over drug claim

Murphy was taken to Denpasar police station. (9NEWS)
Australian teenager Jamie Murphy was taken to Denpasar police station.
An Australian teenager could face up to 12 years in jail after being arrested in Bali, Indonesia, on suspicion of possessing a drug.

Jamie Murphy, 18, was detained at the Sky Garden nightclub at Kuta beach in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

His lawyer claimed forensic tests proved a white powder, allegedly found on Mr Murphy, was not an illegal substance.

News Corp Australia reported police now believed the powder was paracetamol.

"He's doing fine. The test results were negative," lawyer Desi Widyantari told reporters outside Kuta police station.

The Perth tourist was also expected to undergo blood and urine tests.

Police are yet to make any comment on the tests or Ms Widyantari's claims.

'It's not mine'


Mr Murphy denied any wrongdoing in a video taken immediately after he was detained.

"It's not mine, I haven't taken it, what are you doing, it's not mine," he said in footage aired by Australia's Nine News.

The footage showed a small bag containing a powder-like substance on the floor beside a mobile phone and a hotel key.

Thousands of young Australians are in Bali to celebrate their high school graduation in a tradition known as "schoolies".

It is understood that Mr Murphy graduated last year and arrived in Bali with two friends on Sunday.

Teen's parents fly to Bali


The teenager's parents, Brendan and Anna Murphy, left Perth Airport on Wednesday morning to join their son.

Asked by reporters if they had anything to say, Brendan Murphy said: "Just that we love our son."

Gerry Maio, president of the Bayswater City Soccer Club where the teenager plays, said the Mr Murphy's mother was upset by what happened.

"She was in tears as any mother would be," he told ABC radio.

"He was a very promising athlete in our sport. I haven't even seen him with a bottle of beer in his hand."

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told the Nine Network consular officials made contact with Mr Murphy and were preparing to visit him on Wednesday.

"It is a warning to all those who are going overseas on schoolies weeks, and to their parents and friends, that we are subject to the laws of another country when we visit those countries," she said.

Indonesia has some of the world's toughest drug laws.

Queensland woman Schapelle Corby was convicted in 2005 of trying to smuggle marijuana into Bali.
Her case attracted intense interest in Australia, with prolonged public debate over her guilt or innocence, before she was released from prison in 2014.

Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran were executed in Indonesia last year for drug offences.

They were among a group of Australians dubbed the Bali Nine who travelled to Indonesia in 2005 hoping to bring 8.3kg (18lb) of heroin back to Australia.

Australia briefly withdrew its ambassador from Indonesia after the execution.

Source: BBC News, November 23, 2016

Australian teen released by Bali police as white powder 'not drugs'


Police have confirmed a white substance found on an Australian teenager in Bali, Indonesia, was not drugs.

Jamie Murphy, 18, was detained at the Sky Garden nightclub at Kuta beach in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

He faced the possibility of 12 years in jail for possession, but is now set to be released after forensic tests revealed the powder was a mix of four legal substances, including caffeine.

Mr Murphy's blood and urine tests also came back negative for drugs.

Bali police chief Sugeng Priyanto told The Australian: "I have instructed Kuta police chief to release immediately because we have found no evidence against him."

Other Australian media report the substances included painkillers.

The Perth tourist had maintained his innocence since his arrest.

"It's not mine, I haven't taken it, what are you doing, it's not mine," he said in footage aired by Australia's Nine News.

Source: BBC News, November 23, 2016

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