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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…

Malaysia: Hotel manager gets death sentence for drug trafficking

A hotel manager was sent to the gallows by the Magistrate's Court here today after he found guilty of trafficking 82.38 gm of heroin last year.

Judicial Commissioner Muhammad Jamil Hussin passed the death sentence to Muhammad Firdaus Abdullah, 29, after the defence failed to raise a reasonable doubt on the prosecution's case.

The father of one was found guilty of committing the offence at 9.30am at the Machap rest and service area (north-bound) in Kluang on Jan 4 last year. 

The offence under Section 39B(1) (a) of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 provides for mandatory death penalty upon conviction.

In his judgment, Muhammad Jamil said the accused's defence was a mere denial and fabricated.

According to the facts of the case, a team of policemen spotted the accused carrying a suspicious package towards a white Honda car parked by the roadside. Upon inspection, four small packs of heroin weighing a total of 82.38gm, were found in the package.

Deputy public prosecutor Rasyidah Murni Adzmi prosecuted, while the accused was represented by lawyer Chandran Singh.

Throughout the trial, the prosecution and defence each called 6 witnesses.

Muhammad Firdaus appeared calm when the court passed the sentence, while his family members broke down in tears.

Source: themalaymailonline.com, April 16, 2017

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