Trigueros v. Adams

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Habeas Corpus
  • Date Filed: 09-14-2011
  • Case #: 08-56484
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Smith, Jr. for the Court, Circuit Judges Nelson and Bybee
  • Full Text Opinion

Compelling factual circumstances can indicate that a court denied a petition on the merits instead of as untimely when the court is silent on the issue.

Trigueros appeals a district court’s dismissal of his habeas petition as untimely and not subject to statutory tolling. Trigueros was convicted of murder and attempted murder. He filed a habeas petition two and a half years after his claims of ineffective assistance of counsel were known to him and eleven months after his conviction was final. The Superior Court in California found his petition untimely. On review to the California Supreme Court, the court requested informal briefing but denied his petition as untimely. On appeal in the federal district court, the court found that Trigueros’s state court petition was improperly filed and thus did not toll the one-year statute of limitations set forth in the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA). The Ninth Circuit was asked to determine whether Trigueros’s petition filed in state court was determined to be timely by the California Supreme Court. The Ninth Circuit found that the California Supreme Court determined Trigueros’s petition was timely because they had the timeliness question before them and proceeded to decide and deny the petition on the merits. The Court relied on “compelling factual circumstances” including the California Supreme Court’s requesting informal briefing on the merits. REVERSED and REMANDED

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