Ford v. Gonzalez

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 07-02-2012
  • Case #: 11-15430
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge M. Smith for the Court; Circuit Judge McKeown; Dissent by Circuit Judge Noonan
  • Full Text Opinion

When the factual predicate and speculative inferences of a claim have been present since the trial and could have been discovered through reasonable due diligence in the circumstances, a plaintiff is not entitled to equitable tolling.

Jeffrey Dean Ford appealed from the district court’s decision to dismiss several of his claims in his petition for writ of habeas corpus. In 2000, Ford was arrested on two counts of robbery. During the trial, Constance Goins, who was in custody for unrelated robbery charges, testified against Ford, alleging he had admitted to her that he robbed a bank. Ford was convicted and sentenced to jail. In 2005, after his original petition for writ of habeas corpus was denied, Ford’s council requested Goins’ criminal files. In 2006, he filed an amended petition, making several claims, including that the prosecutor failed to disclose evidence that Goins testified against Ford in return for leniency. The district court barred the claims as untimely due to the expiration of the one year statute of limitation on habeas corpus petitions. Ford argued that his claims were timely and he was entitled to equitable tolling because the factual predicate of his claims could not have been discovered until 2005, when Ford’s council requested Goins’ criminal files. The Court affirmed the lower court’s decision, holding that when the factual predicate of the claim “could have been discovered at the time of his trial through the exercise of due diligence,” a plaintiff is not entitled to equitable tolling. The Court concluded that because testimony offered during trial gave strong inference to the notion that Goins was cooperating with law enforcement in return for leniency, Ford should have been able to discover the predicate of his claims before his council received Goins’ criminal files in 2006. AFFIRMED.

Advanced Search