Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Johnson: State extension of time does not create federal equitable tolling

In Johnson v. Fla. Dep’t of Corrections, No. 07-12115 (Jan. 17, 2008), the Court held that a Florida death row’s federal habeas petition was untimely.
The state inmate claimed that there was a delay in the appointment of his post-conviction lawyer in Florida state court. The Court held that this was not an excuse for untimeliness because prisoners in capital cases have no constitutional right to post-conviction counsel. The Court also rejected the claim that the unavailability of requested documents was an impediment to the § 2254 proceeding. Finally, the court found the "equitable tolling" doctrine inapplicable, because, even though Johnson was granted an extension of time to file for state post-conviction relief, this did not affect the timeliness of his federal petition.