Wednesday, February 21, 2007

SCOTUS holds that a petition for cert. does not toll AEDPA's limittaions period in 2254 actions

In LAWRENCE v. FLORIDA, SCOTUS considered the effect of a petition for a writ of certiorari on AEDPA's tolling provisions. Congress established a 1-year statute of limitations for seeking federal habeas corpus relief from a state-court judgment, 28 U. S. C. 2244(d), and further provided that the limitations period is tolled while an "application for State post-conviction or other collateral review" "is pending." Lawrence argued that a state application is still "pending" when the state courts have entered a final judgment on the matter but a petition for certiorari has been filed in the United States Supreme Court.

SCOTUS held that a petition for certiorari is not part of the state post-conviction proceeding and thus a petition for cert does not toll the 1-year statute of limitations. According to Justice Thomas:

This Court is not a part of a "State's post-conviction procedures." State review ends when the state courts have finally resolved an application for state post conviction relief. After the State's highest court has issued its mandate or denied review, no other state avenues for relief remain open. And an application for state post conviction review no longer exists. All that remains is a separate certiorari petition pending before a federal court.

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