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Public Statements

Protecting Innocent Americans From Execution

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, D.C.

Mr. JOHNSON of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, today I introduced H.R. 3986, the Effective Death Penalty Appeals Act, to protect innocent Americans from execution. Under current law, a death row inmate can be stranded in a procedural no-man's land condemned to die, even if there is compelling new evidence of innocence.

Justice Stevens recently wrote that the law as it stands is arguably unconstitutional. It is also wrong. My bill would empower Federal courts to entertain and grant habeas corpus petitions for death row inmates who present new evidence that demonstrates probable innocence.

This bill will help us discern the innocent from the guilty when the stakes are highest. I look forward to broad support for this bill.

I will also say that health care, this new proposal, H.R. 3986, is fabulous reform to this problem.

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