Wall v. Kholi

PETITIONER: Ashbel T. Wall, II, Director of Rhode Island Department of Corrections
RESPONDENT: Khalil Kholi
LOCATION: U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

DOCKET NO.: 09-868
DECIDED BY: Roberts Court (2010-2016)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

CITATION: 562 US (2011)
GRANTED: May 17, 2010
ARGUED: Nov 29, 2010
DECIDED: Mar 07, 2011

ADVOCATES:
Aaron L. Weisman - for the petitioner
Judith H. Mizner - for the respondent (appointed by the Court)

Facts of the case

In December 1993, a Rhode Island jury convicted Khalil Kholi on 10 counts of first-degree sexual assault. The charges stemmed from the alleged molestation of his two step-daughters. A judge on the state superior court sentenced Kholi to two consecutive terms of life imprisonment, and the state supreme court affirmed the conviction in February 1996. Kholi did not file a federal writ of habeas corpus at that time. Instead, he filed a motion seeking sentence reduction as a form of post-conviction relief, which was denied. Kholi exhausted his procedural options regarding sentence reduction in 2007, at which time he began his appeal for federal writ of habeas corpus, which was well beyond the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act's standard one-year limitation on filing. In September 2009, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit reversed and remanded the district court's judgment that a petition for leniency is different from an appeal to correct legal errors and therefore does not result in a tolling of the statute of limitations under AEDPA. A circuit split exists on the issue. The First Circuit's decision was in line with a Tenth Circuit ruling on the same issue, but the Third, Fourth and Eleventh Circuits have previously ruled that a petition for leniency does not toll the statute of limitations under AEDPA.

Question

Inmates have one year to file a habeas challenge to their sentence in federal court after conviction. The running of that time is delayed while the conviction is under review in state court. Is the time also tolled while a state court considers an inmate's request for a sentence reduction?

Media for Wall v. Kholi

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 29, 2010 in Wall v. Kholi

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - March 07, 2011 in Wall v. Kholi

Samuel A. Alito, Jr.:

This case concerns the 1-year limitation provision for filing a federal habeas petition under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996.

The statute provides that that one-year period is tolled by “a properly filed application for a State post-conviction or other collateral review with respect to the pertinent judgment or claim.”

And the question here concerns the meaning of the phrase, "other collateral review."

Specifically, the question here is whether a motion to reduce sentence under Rhode Island law is an application for “collateral review” that tolls the limitation period.

For the reason stated in the opinion filed today, we hold that the phrase "collateral review" in this provision means judicial review of a judgment in a proceeding that is not part of the direct review process.

The parties here agree that Rhode Island's motion to reduce sentence is not part of the direct review process, so we hold that it is an application for a collateral review that tolls the limitation period.

We therefore affirm the judgment of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.

Justice Scalia has filed an opinion concurring in part.