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Lawrence v. Florida

Supreme Court of the United States

October 31, 2006, Argued ; February 20, 2007, Decided

No. 05-8820

Opinion

 [*329]   [***929]   [**1081] Justice Thomas delivered the opinion of the Court.

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," § 2244(d)(2). We must decide whether 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 this Court. We hold that it is not.

Petitioner Gary Lawrence and his wife used a pipe and baseball bat to kill Michael [****6]  Finken.  A Florida jury convicted  [*330]  Lawrence of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, auto theft, and petty theft. The trial court sentenced Lawrence to death. The Florida Supreme Court affirmed Lawrence's conviction and sentence on appeal, and this Court denied certiorari on January 20, 1998. 522 U.S. 1080, 118 S. Ct. 863, 139 L. Ed. 2d 761

On January 19, 1999, 364 days later, Lawrence filed an application for state postconviction relief in a Florida trial [**1082]  court.1  The court denied relief, and the Florida Supreme Court affirmed, issuing its mandate on November 18, 2002.  See Lawrence v. State, 831 So. 2d 121 (per curiam).  Lawrence sought review of the denial of state postconviction relief in this Court. We denied certiorari on March 24, 2003. 538 U.S. 926, 123 S. Ct. 1575, 155 L. Ed. 2d 319.

 [****7] While Lawrence's petition for certiorari was pending, he filed the present federal habeas application. The Federal District Court dismissed it as untimely under § 2244(d)'s 1-year limitations period. All but one day of the limitations period had lapsed during the 364 days between the time Lawrence's conviction became final and when he filed for state postconviction relief. The limitations period was then tolled while the Florida courts entertained his state application. After the Florida Supreme Court issued its mandate, Lawrence waited another 113 days--well beyond the 1 day that remained in the limitations period--to file his federal habeas application.  As a consequence, his federal application could be considered timely only if the limitations period  [*331]  continued to be tolled during this Court's consideration of his petition for certiorari. Then-applicable Eleventh Circuit precedent foreclosed any argument that § 2244's statute of limitations was tolled by the pendency of a petition for certiorari seeking review of a state postconviction proceeding.  See Coates v. Byrd, 211  [***930] F.3d 1225, 1227 (2000) (per curiam).  Accordingly, the District Court concluded [****8]  that Lawrence had only one day to file a federal habeas application after the Florida Supreme Court issued its mandate. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed. 421 F.3d 1221 (2005).  We granted certiorari, 547 U.S. 1039, 126 S. Ct. 1625, 164 L. Ed. 2d 332 (2006), and now affirm.

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549 U.S. 327 *; 127 S. Ct. 1079 **; 166 L. Ed. 2d 924 ***; 2007 U.S. LEXIS 1334 ****; 75 U.S.L.W. 4095; 20 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 84

GARY LAWRENCE, Petitioner v. FLORIDA

Prior History:  [****1] ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE ELEVENTH CIRCUIT.

Lawrence v. Florida, 421 F.3d 1221, 2005 U.S. App. LEXIS 18424 (11th Cir. Fla., 2005)

Disposition: 421 F.3d 1221, affirmed.

CORE TERMS

tolling, postconviction, petition for certiorari, limitations period, state court, equitable tolling, petitions, post conviction relief, statute of limitations, exhaustion, collateral review, habeas petition, federal court, state-court, argues, district court, state prisoner, direct review, expiration, pendency, habeas relief, remedies, cases, postconviction proceedings, tolling period, proceedings, refers

Criminal Law & Procedure, Order & Timing of Petitions, Statute of Limitations, Antiterrorism & Effective Death Penalty Act, Tolling, Procedural Defenses, Exhaustion of Remedies, General Overview, Satisfaction of Exhaustion, Accrual Period, Tolling, Equitable Tolling, Counsel, Right to Counsel, Postconviction, Postconviction Proceedings