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Name: Shannon v. Newland
Case #: 03-16833
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 06/08/2005

A state supreme court decision that is potentially favorable to a habeas petitioner’s federal constitutional claims does not trigger a new one-year statute of limitations for purposes of federal habeas law. The defendant here was convicted of a 1993 murder, and his direct appeal in California was concluded in 1996. In 2000, defendant filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in California state court based on the California Supreme Court’s decision that year in People v. Lasko (2000) 23 Cal.4th 101. His state habeas petitions were denied in 2001. That same year he sought federal habeas relief, and the district court denied the petition as untimely. The Ninth Circuit affirmed, holding that the original adverse ruling on direct appeal was not an impediment to filing a timely petition in federal court. Nor did the Lasko decision trigger a new one-year statute of limitations. The court distinguished the recent United States Supreme Court holding in Johnson v. United States (2005) 125 S.Ct. 1571, because in that case the intervening state court decision concerned the petitioner’s own case. Lasko, by contrast, established an abstract rule of law that did not directly affect the defendant. Finally, no wrongful conduct by state officials justified an equitable tolling of the statute of limitations in this case.