What's at Stake
Whether, and under what circumstances, the one-year statute of limitations for filing a federal habeas corpus petition is subject to equitable tolling.
Under federal law, state prisoners must file their federal habeas corpus petitions within one-year after their state judgments of conviction become final. The principal question in this case is whether a prisoner should be excused for missing the one-year deadline when that failure is due to the allegedly gross negligence of assigned counsel. The ACLU’s amicus brief argues that Congress understood and intended that the one-year filing deadline would be subject to equitable tolling in appropriate circumstances.