Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Monday, June 23, 2008

Gorby: Second Successive Petition not Properly Filed

In Gorby v. McNeil, No 07-11003 (June 20, 2008), the Court held that a Florida death row inmate’s second successive state motion for post-conviction relief did not toll the one-year AEDPA statute of limitations for his federal habeas petition, and that the federal petition was therefore untimely.
Gorby’s second motion for post-conviction relief was untimely under Florida state rules of procedure. Gorby nevertheless argued that this motion was "properly filed," and therefore tolled the federal period of limitations, because the Florida courts addressed his motion on the merits, notwithstanding its untimeliness under Florida law – noting that state procedural defaults do not bar consideration of federal claims unless state courts expressly state that a state judgment rests on a state procedural bar. The Court rejected the analogy to state procedural defaults. The Court also noted the caselaw holding that timeliness is not affected by the fact that a court reached the merits of a claim.