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July 13, 2005

Senate hearings on new habeas restrictions

Thanks to Howard at How Appealing, I see that NPR today provided this effective coverage of a hearing by before the Senate Judiciary Committee concerning legislation introduced by Arizona Senator Jon Kyl seeking to restrict habeas corpus appeals.  Senator Kyl's bill, S. 1088, is entitled the "Streamlined Procedures Act of 2005" and it can be accessed here.  As discussed in this post, a similar bill to restrict habeas corpus has been introduced in the House.  This press statement from Senator Kyl's office asserts that his bill seeks to "update AEDPA" and is "designed to reduce the backlog of federal court appeals in major criminal cases."

Today's hearing was entitled "Habeas Corpus Proceedings and Issues of Actual Innocence," and the impressive list of witnesses (with links to their testimony) is available at this link.  Additional coverage of the hearings can be found in this news account, which spotlights that opponents of the bill "told the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday that it fails to adequately guarantee a hearing for individuals with evidence of actual innocence."

The timing of the Senate hearing and of these new habeas bills seems ironic on two counts: (1) as detailed in this SCOTUSblog post by Lyle Denniston, the Ninth Circuit is now actively questioning in Irons v. Carey (docket no. 05-15275) the constitutionality of AEDPA, which was passed by Congress in 1996 seeking to restrict federal courts' authority in habeas cases; (2) as detailed in this DPIC update, just earlier this week the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund uncovered evidence that Larry Griffin may have been innocent of the crime for which he was executed by the state of Missouri on June 21, 1995.

July 13, 2005 at 10:17 PM | Permalink

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» Streamlined Procedures Act of 2005 from Overlawyered
With excited editorials in the New York Times and Washington Post announcing that a bill before the Senate Judiciary Committee will "gut the legal means by which prisoners prove their innocence," it's worth asking the... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 17, 2005 8:43:40 AM

» Streamlined Procedures Act of 2005 from Overlawyered
With excited editorials in the New York Times and Washington Post announcing that a bill before the Senate Judiciary Committee will "gut the legal means by which prisoners prove their innocence," it's worth asking the... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 17, 2005 11:22:39 AM

Comments

First there was AEDPA. Now they want to furthur limit habeas corpus appeals. What's next, elimination of trial by jury and replacement with evaluation by Kyl and Sensenbrenner? That would truly reduce those pesky criminal trial court backlogs experienced in state and federal courts.

I hope reason prevails and this mistaken idea is put to rest quickly and painlessly.

Posted by: jeannie | Jul 15, 2005 8:46:55 PM

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