Since 1996, 16 death row inmates have been executed after their appeals didn’t meet a federally mandated deadline. Under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, prisoners’ lawyers have exactly one year after a state appeal to file petitions for their clients. If the deadline is missed, prisoners often cannot “argue in federal court that the conviction or sentence they received in a state court violates federal law,” reports the Washington Post. One inmate's appeal missed the deadline by a day because his lawyer used regular mail rather than an overnight courier. Another's petition for appeal was denied because a court's after-hours filing system was broken. The one-year deadline was meant to cut the delays in carrying out executions, but such delays have only increased since the law was passed.