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Texas wants to opt into federal law, speeding up executions

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HUNTSVILLE - There are two sides to every story, even on death row.

The State of Texas wants to speed up executions for death row inmates. Their hope? To 'opt into' a federal law that would limit inmates' appeals options and shorten the legal process.

"If they agree for Texas to opt in on this federal law, we are gearing up to execute innocent and mentally ill people, as well as those that are guilty. Is that what we want?" asks Anthony Graves, who was exonerated from death row.

Well, it is what the State wants. Reducing time would save the government money by cutting back on long court cases, and victims' advocates say speeding up cases could help victims' families heal.

"It is a long, enduring, painful process for victims' families to basically have their lives put on standby to finally see punishment carried out in the murder of one of their loved ones," victims' advocate Andy Kahan said.

But, on on the other side, Graves points out that the change could increase the risk of executing an innocent suspect. "I'm standing here today, after losing 18 years of my life for wrongful conviction, and I sat on death row -- along with two execution dates -- so we know we're getting it wrong, but to go backwards? That's not about reform," he said.

Advocacy groups hope to block the change; and others still don't agree with the death penalty at all.

"I don't feel like the State should be executing people at all. They don't get the right to decide who gets to live and die like that," Ryan Sawatichei told NewsFix.

"There might be some people that believe that they deserve it, but I still don't like taking a person's life," Adrian Perez said.

A life with no control of it's fate.

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