Post Conviction Tolls One Year Statute of Limitations for Federal Habeas Claims, says the Supreme Court

Post Conviction Tolls One Year Statute of Limitations for Federal Habeas Claims, says the Supreme Court

Wall v. Kholi is a 9-0 decision where the Supreme Court held that “a properly filed application for State post-conviction or other collateral review with respect to the pertinent judgment or claim” tolls the 1-year limitation period for filing a federal habeas petition.  All the Justices agreed but Scalia filed a concurring opinion with an argumentative footnote.

Justice Alito writing for the court said that a Rhode Island post conviction petition amounted to collateral review. The court said: "We hold that the phrase collateral review in §2244(d)(2) means judicial review of a judgment  in a proceeding that is not part of direct review. Because the parties agree that a motion to reduce sentence under Rhode Island law is not part of the direct review process, we hold that respondent’s motion tolled the AEDPA limitation period and that his federal habeas petition was therefore timely."

Kholi"s conviction became final on direct review when his time expired for filing a petition for a writ of certiorari in the Supreme Court. Previous to that date, he filed a motion to reduce sentence under Rule 35 of the Rhode Island Superior Court Rules of Criminal Procedure.  While his Rule 35 motion was pending, Kholi also filed an application for state postconviction relief. The trial court denied this motion and the Rhode Island Supreme Court affirmed that decision.

Kholi filed a federal habeas petition in the District of Rhode Island on September 5, 2007. By that time, his conviction had been final for over 11 years. AEDPA generally requires a federal habeas petition to be filed within one year of the date on which the judgment became final by the conclusion of direct review. But the 1-year limitation period is tolled during the time of “a properly filed application for State  post-conviction or other collateral review with respect to the pertinent judgment or claim.” 

In order for Kholi’s petition to be timely, his Rule 35 motion to reduce sentence had to be found to trigger the tolling provision. And, that is what the Supreme Court found that it did. Previous to this decision the Courts of Appeals were divided over the question whether a motion to reduce sentence tolls the period of limitation. The Court granted certiorari to answer this question concerning a motion to reduce sentence under Rhode Island law. The Court said: "We thus hold that a  motion to reduce sentence under Rhode Island law is an application for “collateral review” that triggers AEDPA’s tolling provision."


Contact Davis & Hoss, PC

  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.