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Name: Ross v. Williams
Case #: 16-16533
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 07/19/2018
Summary

Defendant’s untimely amended federal habeas petition, which relied upon facts set forth in an order attached to his original petition, did not relate back to the timely petition and was therefore properly dismissed. Ross was convicted of various theft-related offenses in Nevada. He had five prior felony convictions and received a life sentence. After his direct appeal and state writ petition resulted in affirmance of the conviction, he filed a timely federal petition for writ of habeas corpus. After the AEDPA deadline passed, he filed an amended petition, arguing his new claims arose out of facts contained in a state court order attached to his original petition. The district court dismissed the new petition after finding the relation back doctrine inapplicable. Ross appealed. Held: Affirmed. An amendment to a pleading after the statute of limitations expires relates back to the original petition if it arises out of the same conduct, transaction, or occurrence. An “occurrence” is “an aggregation of facts supporting a discrete claim for relief, and a new claim must arise from the same aggregation of facts” in the earlier petition in order to “relate back.” Here, the facts set forth in the state court order were not clearly incorporated into Ross’s initial petition, nor did that petition reference the order as setting forth facts supporting his claims for relief. Further, Ross failed to specify the grounds for his claims and the facts supporting each ground. The relation back doctrine did not apply to the new petition.

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2018/07/19/16-16533.pdf