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Name: Holland v. Florida
Case #: 27-Sep
Court: US Supreme Court
District USSup
Opinion Date: 06/14/2010
Subsequent History: 130 S.Ct. 2549; 177 L.Ed.2d 130

Under AEDPA, a petitioner may be entitled to equitable tolling of filing deadlines if he can establish unprofessional conduct by his attorney. Petitioner was convicted of first degree murder in Florida state court and sentenced to death. He eventually filed a pro se federal habeas corpus petition that was approximately five weeks after the one-year AEDPA statute of limitations. The record indicated gross misconduct by petitioner’s court-appointed attorney in failing to file a timely petition. Regardless, the Eleventh Circuit declined to exercise its equity powers and toll the deadlines, stating that petitioner failed to establish “extraordinary circumstances,” because attorney misconduct does not suffice unless there is a showing of bad faith, dishonesty, divided loyalty, mental impairment, or the like. The Supreme Court disagreed, finding that the Eleventh Circuit’s per se standard is too rigid and courts often exercise their equity powers on a case-by-case basis. The matter was remanded for hearing on whether tolling would be appropriate in this case.