Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Friday, March 14, 2008

Michel: 2255 motion unsigned but timely

In Michel v. U.S., No. 06-13982 (March 11, 2008), the Court held that even though an inmate initially filed an unsigned § 2255 motion, and only later filed a signed motion – after the running of the statute of limitations – the timeliness of the initial unsigned prevented his motion from being dismissed on untimeliness grounds.
The Court noted that the Rules Governing § 2255 proceedings were specifically amended to provide that a clerk should file, instead of reject, an unsigned § 2255 motion. This amendment was not in effect at the time Michel filed his motions, but it was in effect at the time the district court dismissed his motion – which was the relevant time period. The Court also noted that the Rules Governing § 2255 proceedings trumped the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, when these two differ, and the district court therefore erred in relying on Fed. R. Civ. P. 11 in dismissing Michel’s petition.