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In 2017, Federal District Court Judge Charles Breyer denied the habeas appeal of DeWayne Ewing, an innocent man, based on the timeliness of his appeal rather than on the facts of the case, because of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA), passed in 1996 – the Senate voted 91-8 – and signed by Bill Clinton. Part of the way Congress tried to make the death penalty “more effective” was to limit the ability of prisoners to appeal, especially to have multiple appeals.
In January 1994, 23-year-old DeWayne Ewing and a girlfriend discarded a condom as they left a park in the Oakland hills. A rape took place in the same park a few days later, and three days after the rape, police found the condom under a bush and put it with the rape kit. Thirteen years later, in June 2007, police pulled DeWayne over for an illegal turn and arrested him for rape on a cold hit DNA match.