The Supreme Court today granted certiorari in Dodd v. U.S., No. 04-5286, 2004 WL 2073304 (U.S. Nov. 29, 2004), to resolve the circuit conflict over the starting point for the one-year AEDPA statute of limitations as to newly-recognized rights. In Dodd v. U.S., the Eleventh Circuit held that 28 U.S.C. § 2255(3)’s one-year limit for filing a § 2255 motion seeking relief based on a right newly recognized by the Supreme Court and made retroactive for collateral relief, begins to run from the date the Supreme Court recognizes the new right and not from the date that a court of appeals (or district court) finds the newly-recognized right to be retroactive. Thus, as the Court explained, as soon as the Supreme Court newly announces a right, all prisoners who could obtain relief from violation of that right – if it were made retroactive – should proceed to file for relief, on the hope that the right will later be seen to be retroactive. Such prisoners cannot simply await a decision on retroactivity before filing a 28 U.S.C. § 2255 motion. Here, the movant sought relief under the holding in Richardson v. U.S., 526 U.S. 813 (1999), that a CCE verdict requires jury unanimity on the constituent CCE violations. Although the Eleventh Circuit did not recognize Richardson as having retroactive effect until 2002 (several months after Dodd filed his § 2255 motion), that retroactivity decision was irrelevant to the running of the one-year time period (which period jump-started Dodd’s eligibility to seek § 2255 relief, his conviction having become final several years before the Richardson decision).
[NOTE: Petitioner Dodd is represented by our office's appellate division; the petition was filed by AFPD Janice Bergmann.]