Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

The New Federalism: Court Bails Out State

In Day v. Crosby, No. 04-10778 (Nov. 29, 2004), the Court (Tjoflat, Dubina, Pryor) held that a district court is authorized sua sponte to dismiss a habeas petition under the AEDPA statute of limitations, even though the State (erroneously) conceded in its answer that the petition was timely. The Court recognized that in ordinary civil cases, a statute of limitations defense is waivable, but pointed out that habeas cases are governed by the Rules Governing § 2254 cases, and these rules specifically authorize district courts to order summary dismissals. The Court noted the federal court’s "obligation" to enforce the AEDPA statute of limitations. The Court noted a conflict with other circuits which have held that a court does not have authority to sua sponte "cure" a party’s waiver.