Duncan v. Walker

PETITIONER: Duncan
RESPONDENT: Walker
LOCATION: Office of Attorney General

DOCKET NO.: 00-121
DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1986-2005)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

CITATION: 533 US 167 (2001)
ARGUED: Mar 26, 2001
DECIDED: Jun 18, 2001

Facts of the case

28 USC section 2244(d)(2) provides that the "time during which a properly filed application for State post-conviction or other collateral review with respect to the pertinent judgment or claim is pending shall not be counted toward any period of limitation under this subsection." In 1996, Sherman Walker filed a federal habeas petition under section 2254. The District Court dismissed the petition because it concluded that Walker had not exhausted available state remedies. In 1997, without returning to state court, Walker filed another federal habeas petition. Th District Court dismissed the petition because it had not been filed within a reasonable time from the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996's effective date. In reversing, the Court of Appeals found that Walker's first federal habeas petition was an application for "other collateral review" that tolled the limitation period under section 2244(d)(2) and made his current petition timely.

Question

Is a federal habeas corpus petition is an "application for State post-conviction or other collateral review" within the meaning of 28 USC section 2244(d)(2), such that the one-year statute-of-limitations period under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act is tolled?

Media for Duncan v. Walker

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - June 18, 2001 in Duncan v. Walker

The opinion of the Court in No. 00-121, Duncan versus Walker will be announced by Justice O’Connor.

Sandra Day O'Connor:

This case comes to us on writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Title 28 U.S. Code Section 2244(d)(2) is a tolling provision for a federal statute of limitations for federal habeas petitions.

It provides that the time during which a properly filed application for State post-conviction or other collateral review with respect to the pertinent judgment or claim is pending shall not be counted toward any period of limitation under the Section.

And this case presents the question, whether a federal habeas corpus petition is an application for State postconviction or other collateral review within the meaning of this statute?

The respondent Walker was convicted of robbery in New York State Court.

His conviction became final before the April 24, 1996 effective date of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, which we use the acronym AEDPA to describe.

Respondent filed a federal habeas petition under Section 2254.

The District Court dismissed the petition without prejudice because it was not apparent that respondent had exhausted his available state remedies.

Without returning to State Court and more than one year after AEDPA’s effective date and the statute of limitations period, the respondent filed another federal habeas petition in the same District Court.

This time the District Court dismissed the petition as time barred because respondent had not filed a petition within a reasonable time of AEDPA’s effective date.

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals reversed holding that his second petition was timely because his first federal habeas petition had tolled the one year statute of limitations period.

The Second Circuit based its decision on its interpretation of the phrase, “other collateral review” which it thought included federal habeas petitions, and there is a conflict of authority among the Courts of Appeals on this question.

So, we granted certiorari and in the opinion filed today we reverse the judgment of Second Circuit.

Our only job in the case is one of statutory construction and under the correct reading of the statute we hold that the word “state” applies to the entire phrase postconviction or other collateral review.

In other portions of the same AEDPA statute and laws Congress specifically use both the word “state” and “federal” to denote state and federal proceedings.

In Section 2254(d)(2) by contrast the word “state” is employed but not the word “federal” as a modifier for the phrase.

We presume that Congress acted intentionally by excluding the word ‘federal’ in this provision, and to read the statute to include petitions for federal review would render the word “state” in significant if not total surplusage.

We hold then that the Section did not toll the limitation period during the pendency of his first federal habeas petition.

Justice Souter has filed a concurring opinion; Justice Stevens has filed an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment which Justice Souter has joined, and Justice Breyer has filed a dissenting opinion which Justice Ginsburg has joined.