Monday, July 20, 2015

The Law That Keeps People on Death Row Despite Flawed Trials

...This state of affairs is the product of a semi-obscure 1996 law called the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act. Passed with bipartisan support and signed by President Bill Clinton in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing, the law was based in part on Newt Gingrich’s “Contract With America” and was designed to limit appeals of death-penalty sentences brought via the “Great Writ,” as it’s known, of habeas corpus. As a legal concept, habeas corpus dates to medieval England. The Latin translates literally as “you have the body.” The idea is that a prisoner has a right to petition a court to show that he or she is being held illegally.


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