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Evans v. Chavis

Docket No.: 04-721
Certiorari Granted: May 2 2005
Argued: November 9, 2005
Decided: January 20, 2006

Topics:

Criminal Procedure, Habeas Corpus

PartyNames: Mike Evans, Acting Warden v. Reginald Chavis
Petitioner: Mike Evans, Acting Warden
Respondent: Reginald Chavis

Court Below: United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Mike Evans, Acting Warden
v.
Reginald Chavis
546 U.S. 189 (2006)
Background:

In Carey v. Saffold, 536 U.S. 214, 225 (2002), this Court held that, where a California prisoner "unreasonably" delays in filing a state habeas corpus petition after denial in a lower court, that application is not "'pending' during this period' and therefore does not toll the one-year statute of limitations for filing federal habeas corpus petitions. The Court further held that the California Supreme Court's denial of a habeas petition on the merits does not itself "indicate that the petition was timely." Id. at 226.

Question Presented:

The question presented is: Did the Ninth Circuit contravene this Court's decision in Carey v. Saffold when it held that a prisoner who delayed more than three years before filing a habeas petition with the California Supreme Court did not "unreasonably" delay in filing the petition -- and therefore was entitled to tolling during that entire period -- because the California Supreme Court summarily denied the petition without comment or citation, which the Ninth Circuit construes as a denial "on the merits"?

Question:

When a state court denies a habeas petition summarily, without explanation, does the time that a defendant spent filing that petition count toward the one-year statute of limitations in federal habeas appeals under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act?

Holding: reversed and remanded
Vote: 9-0
Opinion By:
Read EVANS V. CHAVIS opinion (PDF)

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