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Columbia Law School

2001

Brooklyn Law Review

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An "Effective Death Penalty"? Aedpa And Error Detection In Capital Cases, James S. Liebman Jan 2001

An "Effective Death Penalty"? Aedpa And Error Detection In Capital Cases, James S. Liebman

Faculty Scholarship

On June 11, 2001, the United States of America executed Timothy McVeigh. Dwarfed among the many unspeakable evils that Mr. McVeigh wrought is a speakable one I will address here, namely, the so-called Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA").

Abbreviated, AEDPA's political history is as follows: In November 1994, the "Gingrich Congress" was elected on its Contract with America platform. One of the planks of that platform – one of the few that actually ended up passing Congress – was the so-called "Effective Death Penalty Act." That proposal had little to do with the death penalty and, originally ...