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Name: Saffold v. Newland
Case #: 99-15541
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 07/17/2000
Subsequent History: None

A district court erred when it failed to toll the statute of limitations for the period within which Saffold was pursuing state habeas relief. Saffold’s conviction for murder was affirmed in 1992. In 1996, the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) was enacted, which imposed a one-year statute of limitations for state prisoners filing federal petitions for habeas corpus. Since Saffold’s conviction preceded passage of the AEDPA, the limitations period began running on AEDPA’s effective date, April 24, 1996, and would have expired on April 23, 1997, unless it was tolled. Saffold filed his first state habeas application on April 17, 1997, just six days before the one-year limitation would have expired. Saffold had a state collateral proceeding pending from that time until the time the California Supreme Court denied his petition in 1998. The AEDPA limitation was therefore tolled for all of the time during which Saffold was attempting by use of state procedures to exhaust his remedies. The appellate court here declined to adopt a rule that would have required Saffold to file his petition in federal court before the California Supreme Court ruled on the merits of his claim. A notice of appeal by a pro se prisoner is deemed filed at the moment the prisoner delivers it to prison authorities for forwarding. Therefore, the time the tolling of the statute of limitations began was the day that Saffold delivered his petition to prison authorities. Dissenting opinion by J. O’Scannlain held that the statute of limitations should not be tolled for the entire process of state collateral challenge, because that would make the delay between separate state habeas petitions irrelevant.