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Anti-Terrorism & Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996

Anti-Terrorism & Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996

The Anti-Terrorism & Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA) was enacted to deter terrorism and to limit how and when inmates can use a writ of Habeas Corpus.


The AEDPA provides for restitution to victims of terrorism, the designation of terrorist organizations, restrictions on certain weapons, and criminalization of certain terrorist activities.

Habeas Corpus

The AEDPA limits the use of the writ of Habeus Corpus in both substantive and procedural ways.

Procedurally, a prisoner must file a petition for a writ within one year of when their judgment of conviction was finalized. Additionally, they must raise all claims in one petition, as successive petitions are prohibited except in limited situations.  Any successive petitions must first be approved by a federal appellate court.

Substantively, a writ of habeas corpus was limited to cases in which the conviction in state court was “contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established federal law” OR the decision was “based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence.”

Public Law 104–132—April 24, 1996

Felker v. Turpin, 518 U.S. 651

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