Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA)

Definition - What does Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA) mean?

The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) made significant changes to the ways in which writs of habeas corpus can be used in criminal cases. Specifically, this act creates both procedural and substantive restrictions on the use of these writs. It accomplishes the former by allowing only one appeal per person, and the latter by limiting the basis for successful petitions.

Justipedia explains Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA)

AEDPA was passed in the wake of two acts of domestic terrorism in the 1990s.

In addition to making the changes to the use of habeas corpus, the act includes several provisions specifically aimed at securing justice for victims of terrorism. These provisions include mandatory restitution and assistance for victims.

The act also bans international terrorist fundraising and assistance to terrorist states, and addresses the deportation of aliens who engage in terrorist activity.

Finally, this act addresses the use of and other offenses related to nuclear, chemical and biological weapons; and changes existing laws to address broader concerns about terrorism.

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