Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Chavez: Lawyer misconduct not sufficiently egregious to toll

In Chavez v. Sec. Dep’t of Corrections, No. 10-13840 (July 25, 2011), the Court denied habeas relief to a Florida death row inmate because his petition was time-barred under AEDPA.

The Court found that defense counsel, whose delay in filing post-conviction motions caused Chavez’ ultimate federal petition to be untimely (because the one-year limitations period under AEDPA is only statutorily tolled during the period when a State post-conviction proceeding is pending) were merely negligent, and did not engage in the kind of “egregious attorney misconduct” that entitles habeas petitioners to equitable tolling. The Court also found that Chavez’ own lack of diligence in pursuing federal habeas relief precluded a finding of equitable tolling.