Maes v. Chavez

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Habeas Corpus
  • Date Filed: 07-07-2015
  • Case #: 13-16523
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Senior District Judge Ponsor for the Court; Circuit Judges Kozinski and Graber
  • Full Text Opinion

Federal habeas corpus petitions are subject to a one-year statute of limitations, but if a state court appeal is pending, the pendency period may be added to the statute of limitations.

Christopher Maes, a convicted sex-offender, is required to report any change of address. Upon failing to do so, Maes was sentenced to twenty-five years to life in prison due to his three-time serious felon legal status. The district court dismissed his habeas corpus petition. Maes appealed, claiming he deserves an extension. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit reviewed whether Maes’ claim could be tolled. The panel explained, as established by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”), federal habeas petitions are subject to a one-year statute of limitations. However, while a defendant has a pending habeas claim in the state court, AEDPA’s one-year limitation is stayed. This is referred to as “statutory tolling.” Two days before the statute of limitations ran out, Maes filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus with the state superior court, which was denied. Instead of seeking further review in the state courts, Maes filed for federal review instead. In doing so, Maes effectively abandoned any future ability to obtain relief from the state level. Therefore, the panel held that Maes is not eligible for statutory tolling since he had no state appeal pending. The panel therefore affirmed the lower court, which held that Maes unsuccessfully filed a federal habeas corpus petition since he filed two days after the one year limitation expired. AFFIRMED.

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