Friday, March 5, 2021

Washington Post: "It’s time to repeal the worst criminal justice law of the past 30 years"

"The failures in these cases all originated in state courts. Under our system, when a state violates the constitutional protections of a fair trial, the federal courts are required to intervene. The right to judicial review of an unlawful detention, also known as the writ of habeas corpus, is enshrined in the Constitution and dates back to 13th-century England.

But in 1996 Congress took a chisel to habeas corpus with the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA). Attorneys who represent people challenging their convictions, such as Mississippi’s Humphreys McGee, say the AEDPA and the Supreme Court rulings that followed have suffocated federal review. “It’s been a 25-year thicket of real through-the-looking-glass s---," McGee says. And the law’s repeal or reform is long overdue."
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