Supreme Court In Holland v. Florida Affirms Importance Of Fairness In Construing Habeas Deadlines

June 14, 2010 12:00 am

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NEW YORK – The U.S. Supreme Court today ruled in Holland v. Florida that the one-year statute of limitation for habeas filings under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 can be put on hold in certain circumstances, including attorney misconduct. The ruling came in the case of Albert Holland, a prisoner on Florida’s death row whose lawyer missed the deadline for asking federal courts to review his conviction and death sentence.

The following can be attributed to John Holdridge, Director of the American Civil Liberties Union Capital Punishment Project:

“This decision is a victory for basic fairness. Disturbingly, there are death row inmates who have not been able to file a federal habeas petition because their attorneys missed a filing deadline. For the first time, the Court has held that they will now have an opportunity to show that they should be allowed to file a petition if the deadline has passed because of attorney misconduct or gross negligence.”

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