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Name: McQuiggin v. Perkins
Case #: 12-126
Court: US Supreme Court
District USSup
Opinion Date: 05/28/2013
Subsequent History: 133 S.Ct. 1924; 185 L.Ed.2d 1019

Statute of limitations prescribed in the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) may be overcome by credible claim of actual innocence. Perkins was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life without possibility of parole in 1993. His appeal in state court became final in 1997. In 2008 he filed a federal habeas petition claiming actual innocence. In support of his claim he attached declarations–the most recent of which was signed in 2002. The district court denied the petition. The Sixth Circuit reversed, finding that Perkins’ claim of actual innocence overcame his delay in filing. Held: Vacated and remanded. Under AEDPA a state prisoner must file a federal habeas petition within one year from the date his judgment is final. If the petition alleges new evidence, the deadline is one year from the date on which the predicate facts could have been discovered through exercise of due diligence. However, title 28 United States Code section 2244(d)(1) (statutory implementation of AEDPA) “contains no clear command countering the courts’ equitable authority to invoke the miscarriage of justice exception to overcome expiration of the statute of limitations governing a first federal habeas petition.” Where a petitioner presents evidence that shows no reasonable trier of fact would have convicted him, he may advance an otherwise procedurally barred claim. However, a petitioner’s unexplained delay in filing his claim is not irrelevant–it is part of the assessment in determining whether he has made the requisite miscarriage of justice showing. Remanded for hearing consistent with the opinion.