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School of Law, Duke University




The ABA explains its proposed moratorium on capital punishment in part on the ground that recent decisions rendered by the Supreme Court and legislation enacted by Congress limit the ability of prisoners under sentence of death to challenge their sentences in the federal courts.' According to the ABA, the Supreme Court has placed numerous hurdles in the path of prisoners who apply to the federal courts for a writ of habeas corpus, claiming that their convictions were obtained or their sentences were imposed in violation of federal law. Congress, for its part, has added even more barriers in Title I of the AntiTerrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996. The ABA contends that the Court's decisions and the new Act establish restrictions on habeas that are at odds with ABA policies on point, promulgated in 1990.

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