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Woodford v. Garceau

Supreme Court of the United States

January 21, 2003, Argued ; March 25, 2003, Decided

No. 01-1862


 [***367]  [**1400]  [*204]     JUSTICE THOMAS delivered the opinion of the Court.

 LEdHN[1A][] [1A] In  Lindh v. Murphy, 521 U.S. 320, 138 L. Ed. 2d 481, 117 S. Ct. 2059 (1997), we held that HN1[] amendments made to chapter 153 of Title 28 of the United States Code by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA), 110 Stat. 1214, do not apply to cases pending in federal court on April 24, 1996 -- AEDPA's effective date. In this case we consider when a capital habeas case becomes "pending" for purposes of the rule announced in Lindh.

 [***368]  Respondent Robert Garceau brutally killed his girlfriend Maureen Bautista and her 14-year-old son, Telesforo Bautista. He was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death. The California Supreme Court affirmed respondent's conviction and sentence,  People v. Garceau, 6 Cal. 4th 140, 862 P.2d 664, 24 Cal. Rptr. 2d 664 (1993), and denied on the merits his petition for state postconviction relief.  [****6]  We denied certiorari.  513 U.S. 848, 130 L. Ed. 2d 84, 115 S. Ct. 144 (1994).

 On May 12, 1995, respondent filed a motion for the appointment of federal habeas counsel and an application for a stay of execution in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California. The District Court promptly issued a 45-day stay of execution. On June 26, 1995, the District Court appointed counsel and extended the stay of execution for another 120 days. On August 1, 1995, the State filed a motion to vacate the stay, in part because respondent had failed to file a "specification of nonfrivolous issues," as required by local court rules. Brief for Respondent [*205]  2. Respondent cured that defect, and, on October 13, 1995, the District Court denied the State's motion and ordered that the habeas petition be filed within nine months. Respondent filed his application for habeas relief on July 2, 1996.

Although respondent's habeas application was filed after AEDPA's effective date, the District Court, following Circuit precedent, concluded that the application was not subject to AEDPA. See App. to Pet. for Cert. 31-32 (citing  Lindh, supra;  Calderon v. United States Dist. Ct. for the Central Dist. of Cal., 163 F.3d 530, 540 (CA9 1998)  [****7]   (en banc), cert. denied,  526 U.S. 1060, 143 L. Ed. 2d 535, 119 S. Ct. 1377 (1999)). On the merits, however, the District  [**1401]  Court ruled that respondent was not entitled to habeas relief. The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed. Like the District Court, the Ninth Circuit concluded AEDPA does not apply to respondent's application.  275 F.3d 769, 772, n. 1 (2001). Unlike the District Court, however, the Ninth Circuit granted habeas relief for reasons that are not relevant to our discussion here.  Id., at 777-778. We granted certiorari.  536 U.S. 990, 53 L. Ed. 2d 893, 123 S. Ct. 32 (2001).

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538 U.S. 202 *; 123 S. Ct. 1398 **; 155 L. Ed. 2d 363 ***; 2003 U.S. LEXIS 2491 ****; 71 U.S.L.W. 4217; 2003 Cal. Daily Op. Service 2600; 16 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 170


Subsequent History: On remand at, Remanded by Garceau v. Woodford, 399 F.3d 1101, 2005 U.S. App. LEXIS 3578 (9th Cir., Mar. 3, 2005)


Garceau v. Woodford, 275 F.3d 769, 2001 U.S. App. LEXIS 27189 (9th Cir. Cal., 2001)

Disposition:  275 F.3d 769, reversed and remanded.

district court, habeas corpus, application for a writ, merits, effective date, cases, court of appeals, federal court, purposes, corpus, appointment of counsel, motion for a stay, stay of execution, habeas petition, appointed, triggered, files, Non-Frivolous, instituted, Effective

Criminal Law & Procedure, Habeas Corpus, Review, Antiterrorism & Effective Death Penalty Act, Standards of Review, General Overview, Civil Procedure, Pleadings, Complaints, Procedure, Court Rules