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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Lawrence: AEDPA not tolled during federal certiorari appeal of final state decision

In Lawrence v. Florida, No. 05-8820 (Feb. 20, 2007), <http://supremecourtus.gov/opinions/06pdf/05-8820.pdf> the Supreme Court affirmed the Eleventh Circuit’s holding that a federal habeas petitioner’s habeas petition was untimely, because the time after the final determination of the Florida state courts, during which the petitioner was seeking (unsuccessfully) certiorari review in the United States Supreme Court, did not toll the one-year statute of limitations for federal habeas petitions.
The Court held that once a State’s highest court has denied, as here, the final appeal of a state court’s denial of state post-conviction relief, the state courts have conclusively spoken on the matter. The subsequent federal certiorari proceeding is a separate proceeding. The final resolution in the state courts has occurred, and the tolling period does not continue to run because no state proceeding is "pending."