Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA)

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Major mid-1990s reform of habeas corpus as used to challenge criminal convictions.  Among other provisions, the law limits both the procedural and substantive scope of the writ.  Procedurally, it bans successive petitions by the same person, requiring defendants to put all of their claims into one appeal. Substantively, it narrows the grounds on which successful habeas claims can be made, allowing claims only to succeed when the convictions were contrary to “clearly established federal law” or an “unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence.” 28 U.S.C. § 2254.