For years, Court had closed their doors to those wrongfully convicted, due to certain procedural defeults that barred those wrongfully convicted from seeking relief. In 1995 the Supreme Court of the United States carved out an exception for those claiming actual innocence, to overcome procedural defects that would otherwise have possibly kept innocent parties in jail
In Schlup v. Delo (1995) 513 U.S. 298, our High Court carved out an exception that permitted successive and procedurally barred habeas petitions to be heard, if based upon evidence of actual innocence. Our high court reasoned that it was more important to give relief by hearing the merits of an innocent man, rather than to simply deny him relief on technical grounds.
In 2013, the Supreme Court revisted the actual innocence gateway, and held “Actual innocence, if proved, serves as a gateway through which a petitioner may pass whether the impediment is a procedural bar, as it was in Schlup v. Delo, 513 U.S. 298, 115 S.Ct. 851, 130 L.Ed.2d 808, and House v. Bell, 547 U.S. 518, 126 S.Ct. 2064, 165 L.Ed.2d 1, or expiration of the AEDPA statute of limitations, as in this case. Pp. 1931 – 1935.” McQuiggin v. Perkins (2013) 133 S.Ct. 1924, 1926 [185 L.Ed.2d 1019], however the Court did hold that the age of the new evidence my be considered as a factor for reliablity.
The our High Court went on to clarify: “A federal habeas court, faced with an actual-innocence gateway claim, should count unjustifiable delay on a habeas petitioner’s part, not as an absolute barrier to relief, but as a factor in determining whether actual innocence has been reliably shown. A petitioner invoking the miscarriage of justice exception “must show that it is more likely than not that no reasonable juror would have convicted him in the light of the new evidence.” Schlup, 513 U.S., at 327, 115 S.Ct. 851. Unexplained delay in presenting new evidence bears on the determination whether the petitioner has made the requisite showing. Taking account of the delay in the context of the merits of a petitioner’s actual-innocence claim, rather than treating timeliness as a threshold inquiry, is tuned to the exception’s underlying rationale of ensuring “that federal constitutional errors do not result in the incarceration of innocent persons.” Herrera, 506 U.S., at 404, 113 S.Ct. 853. Pp. 1935 – 1936.” McQuiggin v. Perkins (2013) 133 S.Ct. 1924, 1927 [185 L.Ed.2d 1019].
As of now, the abilty to bring a previously precedurally barred habeas petition is still a viable option, as long as actual innocence can establish that it is more likely than not the new evidence would not have resulted in the conviction.
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