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Name: Espinoza-Matthews v. California
Case #: 04-56805
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 12/28/2005

The statute of limitations for a petition for writ of habeas corpus is tolled where the defendant is denied access to his legal materials. The petitioner requested an extension of time for filing his federal habeas petition because he had been placed in Administrative Segregation with no access to his legal papers. The request was denied but he filed a petition regardless. The state moved to dismiss the petition for untimeliness, and the federal magistrate judge rejected the petitioner’s arguments in favor of equitable tolling. The Ninth Circuit panel reversed, holding that the petitioner’s lack of access to his legal papers was a state-created impediment to timely filing.