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Day v. McDonough

Supreme Court of the United States

February 27, 2006, Argued ; April 25, 2006, Decided

No. 04-1324

Opinion

 [*201]  [**1679]   Justice Ginsburg delivered the opinion of the Court.

This case concerns the authority of a U. S. District Court, on its own initiative, to dismiss as untimely a state prisoner's [****7]  petition for a writ of habeas corpus. ] The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA), 110 Stat. 1214, sets a one-year limitation period for filing such petitions, running from "the date on which the judgment became final by the conclusion of direct review or the expiration of the time for seeking such review." 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1)(A).  The one-year clock is stopped, however, during the time the petitioner's "properly filed" application for state postconviction relief "is pending." § 2244(d)(2). Under Eleventh Circuit precedent, that tolling period does not include the 90 days in which a petitioner might have sought certiorari review in this Court challenging state-court denial of postconviction relief.  Coates v. Byrd, 211 F.3d 1225, 1227 (2000).

In the case before us, the State's answer to the federal habeas petition "agree[d] the petition [was] timely" because it was "filed after 352 days of untolled time." App. 24.  Inspecting the pleadings and attachments, a Federal Magistrate Judge determined  [***383]  that the State had miscalculated the tolling time. Under Circuit precedent, the untolled time  [*202]  was 388 days, rendering the [****8]  petition untimely by some three weeks. After affording the petitioner an opportunity to show cause why the petition should not be dismissed for failure to meet the statutory deadline, and finding petitioner's responses inadequate, the Magistrate Judge recommended dismissal of the petition. The District Court adopted the Magistrate Judge's recommendation, and the Court of Appeals affirmed, concluding that "[a] concession of timeliness by the state that is patently erroneous does not compromise the authority of a district court sua sponte to dismiss a habeas petition as untimely, under AEDPA."  Day v. Crosby, 391 F.3d 1192, 1195 (CA11 2004) (per curiam ).

The question presented is whether a federal court lacks authority, on its own initiative, to dismiss a habeas petition as untimely, once the State has answered the petition without contesting its timeliness. ] Ordinarily in civil litigation, a statutory time limitation is forfeited if not raised in a defendant's answer or in an amendment thereto. Fed. Rules Civ. Proc. 8(c), 12(b), and 15(a). And we would count it an abuse of discretion to override a State's deliberate waiver of a limitations defense. In this case, however,  [****9]  the federal court confronted no intelligent waiver on the [**1680]  State's part, only an evident miscalculation of the elapsed time under a statute designed to impose a tight time constraint on federal habeas petitioners. 1 In the circumstances here presented, we hold, the federal court had discretion to correct the State's error and, accordingly, to dismiss the petition as untimely under AEDPA's one-year limitation.

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547 U.S. 198 *; 126 S. Ct. 1675 **; 164 L. Ed. 2d 376 ***; 2006 U.S. LEXIS 3448 ****; 74 U.S.L.W. 4194; 19 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 153

PATRICK DAY, Petitioner v. JAMES R. McDONOUGH, INTERIM SECRETARY, FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS

Subsequent History:  [****1] Later proceeding at Day v. McDonough, 547 U.S. 1205, 126 S. Ct. 2916, 165 L. Ed. 2d 915, 2006 U.S. LEXIS 4687 (U.S., 2006)

US Supreme Court rehearing denied by Day v. McDonough, 549 U.S. 1261, 127 S. Ct. 1394, 167 L. Ed. 2d 175, 2007 U.S. LEXIS 2807 (U.S., Feb. 26, 2007)

Prior History: ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE ELEVENTH CIRCUIT.

Day v. Crosby, 391 F.3d 1192, 2004 U.S. App. LEXIS 24603 (11th Cir. Fla., 2004)

Disposition: Affirmed.

CORE TERMS

sua sponte, district court, habeas petition, statute of limitations, exhaustion, forfeiture, timeliness, limitations period, proceedings, untimely, courts, limitations defense, habeas corpus, state court, nonretroactivity, forfeited, one-year, procedural default, federal court, state remedy, limitations, defenses, cases, own initiative, computation, parties, comity, merits, waive, post conviction relief

Criminal Law & Procedure, Order & Timing of Petitions, Time Limitations, General Overview, Civil Procedure, Pleadings, Responses, Defenses, Demurrers & Objections, Waiver & Preservation of Defenses, Habeas Corpus, Procedure, Pretrial Dismissals