Innocence Protection Act

In United States federal criminal law, the Innocence Protection Act is the first federal death penalty reform to be enacted. The Act seeks to ensure the fair administration of the death penalty and minimize the risk of executing innocent people. The Innocence Protection Act of 2001, introduced in the Senate as S. 486 and the House of Representatives as H.R. 912, was included as Title IV of the omnibus Justice for All Act of 2004 (H.R. 5107), signed into law on October 30, 2004 by President George W. Bush as public law no. 108-405.

The Justice For All Act is the product of a bi-partisan, bicameral compromise led by then-Senate Judiciary Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Ranking Member Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), then-House Judiciary Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and Rep. William Delahunt (D-MA). It passed the House by an overwhelming vote of 393 to 14 on October 6, 2004 and the Senate by voice vote three days later.

The text of the Act amended the United States Code to include procedures for post-conviction DNA testing in federal court. Through the Kirk Bloodsworth Post-Conviction DNA Testing Program, the act established a federal grant program to provide money to states to defray the costs of post-conviction DNA testing. The act additionally contains provisions for increasing the quality of representation for indigent defendants in state capital cases, and for compensating victims of wrongful conviction.

Read more about Innocence Protection ActDeath Penalty, Post-conviction DNA Testing

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