Curiel v. Miller

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Habeas Corpus
  • Date Filed: 03-19-2015
  • Case #: 11-56949
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge O'Scannlain for the Court; Circuit Judges Rawlinson and Bybee
  • Full Text Opinion

The one year limitations period in the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act for a state prisoner to file a federal habeas petition is not tolled when the state appeal was determined to be untimely.

Freddy Curiel was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole. Curiel appealed his conviction and on June 11, 2008, the California Supreme Court denied his petition for review. Curiel then filed a writ of habeas corpus in state court. The Orange County Superior Court denied Curiel’s petition on the ground that it was untimely. On September 7, 2009, the California Supreme Court denied his petition in a two-line decision that did not mention the merits of the case or the timeliness. On March 8, 2010, Curiel filed a federal habeas petition. The district court denied his petition. The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (“AEDPA”), 28 U.S.C. § 2254, has a one-year statute of limitations period from the time of final judgment, in this case one year from June 11, 2008, for Curiel to file a federal habeas petition. The Ninth Circuit determined that the one-year limitations period for AEDPA was not tolled during the time Curiel was waiting for the state supreme court decision. Once the lower state court determined Curiel’s petition was untimely, Curiel could no longer pursue a federal petition. The panel found that the state supreme court decision did not overrule the lower court’s decision that Curiel’s state petition was untimely. The panel did not agree with Curiel that he was entitled to tolling because his trial attorney did not provide him materials. Curiel’s pro se status and likely misunderstanding that he could file a protective petition to toll the one-year limitation does not warrant equitable tolling. AFFIRMED.

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