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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…

British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford on death row in Bali faces losing last-ditch appeal

Lindsay Sandiford
Lindsay Sandiford, Kerobokan prison, Bali
A British grandmother on Death Row for drug-smuggling faces losing her last chance to escape the firing squad after thousands of pounds to fund a final appeal went missing.

Well-wishers and church groups raised £40,000 to help Lindsay Sandiford, 61, appeal against the death penalty for smuggling 10 lb of cocaine into Bali in 2012.

The money was paid into accounts controlled by Indonesian legal advocate Ursa Supit, who used to work with British charity Reprieve.

But 18 months after receiving the funds, Supit has failed to lodge an appeal – despite withdrawing £7,800 to make the arrangements.

She has also refused requests from Sandiford to produce bank statements to account for the remaining money and has now cut off all contact with her.

Friends of Supit say the 45-year-old is a drug addict and is unable to account for the funds.

Sandiford, of Redcar, Teesside, said: ‘I could now be taken away and executed at any time.’

Supit is living on an island near Bali where she bought a three-year lease on a complex of holiday bungalows.

She did not respond to calls from The Mail on Sunday.

Sandiford has had no legal representation since her previous lawyer was jailed for corruption in an unrelated case in 2015.

The British Government has refused to fund her appeal.

Source: Mail Online, George Knowles, July 15, 2017

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