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Name: Cross v. Sisto
Case #: 08-17324
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 04/18/2012
Summary

Petitioner’s federal writ petition was not barred by the AEDPA statute of limitations where it was timely filed under California law. The one year statute of limitations under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) is tolled so long as a properly filed habeas corpus petition is pending in the state court. A petition is properly filed when filed in compliance with state law and rules regarding habeas procedure. “California applies a reasonableness standard to determine whether state habeas petitions are timely filed.” In this case the district court interpreted the California Supreme Court’s denial of defendant’s habeas petition, which cited Ex parte Swain (1949) 34 Cal.2d 300 and People v. Duvall (1995) 9 Cal.4th 464, as denying his petition as untimely. This was error. The cases relied upon by the district court interpret a citation to Swain as a “grant of a demurrer, rendering the habeas petition procedurally deficient yet properly filed under California law.” AEDPA’s one-year limit is tolled until a timely filed state habeas petition “has reached ‘final resolution.'” A defendant may be entitled to “tolling for more than one separate round of state habeas petitions.” Further, statutory tolling applies to intervals between the decision in the lower court and the filing of a new petition in a higher court, as long as those filings are timely, which in California means they are filed within a reasonable amount of time. Under these provisions, defendant’s federal habeas petition was timely filed.