Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Monday, February 29, 2016

In re Anthony Johnson: Post-Johnson 2255 motion held in abeyance pending Welch

In In Re: Anthony Johnson, No. 16-10011 (Feb. 26, 2016), the Court ruled that it would keep in abeyance a second or successive 28 U.S.C. § 2255 motion to vacate a sentence pending the Supreme Court’s decision in Welch v. U.S. on whether Johnson v. U.S., 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015) announced a new substantive rule of constitutional law that applies retroactively to cases that are on collateral review. The Court recognized that 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b)(3)(D) provides that a court “shall grant or deny the authorization to file a second or successive application not later than 30 days after the filing of the motion.” The Court also recognized that the Supreme Court would not decide Welch within 30 days of the motion. However, the Court held that the 30-day deadline was not mandatory. The Court noted its inherent power to hold cases in abeyance, and the equitable nature of habeas proceedings. The Court also noted the judicial economy of granting all applications held in abeyance in a single order, should the Supreme Court in Welch hold that Johnson applies retroactively to cases on collateral review.