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Name: Mendoza v. Carey
Case #: 04-56733
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 06/07/2006

A prisoner’s inability to obtain Spanish language legal materials may entitle him to equitable tolling for his petition for writ of habeas corpus. After a California state prisoner exhausted his habeas options in state court, he sought federal habeas relief, but his petition in district court was dismissed as untimely under the one-year statute of limitations. The petitioner argued that he was entitled to equitable tolling because the prison library contained no Spanish-language legal materials and no Spanish-speaking librarians. The Ninth Circuit reversed and remanded, noting that it had previously held that a failure to provide access to the text of AEDPA constituted possible grounds for equitable tolling of the statute of limitations. Here, the petitioner alleged that he had made several requests for Spanish-language materials, but was not able to file his habeas petition until a newly-arrived bilingual inmate assisted him. He was entitled to a remand for a hearing on these allegations.