Stancle v. Clay

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Habeas Corpus
  • Date Filed: 08-28-2012
  • Case #: 09-56374
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge N. R. Smith for the Court; Circuit Judges Nelson and O'Scannlain
  • Full Text Opinion

The district court properly denied appellant’s writ of habeas petition because it was time-barred by the AEDPA one-year statute of limitations and petitioner was unable to show why his petition was entitled to tolling, either for gap tolling because his first two filings with the state superior court constituted a “new round,” or equitable tolling due to mental incompetence.

In 2007 Joseph Stancle was convicted in California Superior Court on two separate counts. He did not appeal his convictions and his judgment became final. On October 12, 2007, Stancle filed a writ of habeas corpus in the superior court, which was denied. Forty-four days later, he filed a second petition in the same court which was also denied. On February 3, 2008, he filed a petition in the California Court of Appeals, denied on February 14, and on March 13, 2008, he filed a petition with the California Supreme Court, which was denied on October 16, 2008. Stancle then filed, on February 24, 2009, a habeas petition in the Central District Court of California. Ivan Clay, the defendant, filed a motion to dismiss the petition on the grounds that the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act’s (AEDPA) one-year statute of limitations “time-barred” the petition. The district court granted the motion, finding that Stancle’s habeas petition was not “entitled to statutory or gap tolling for the 44 days between the two state superior court filings.” Stancle appealed, arguing that his petition was timely because the 44 day period should be gap tolled and that he was also entitled to equitable tolling due to his “mental incompetence.” The Ninth Circuit found that in order to gap toll a petition, Stancle would have to show that his second petition with the superior court was nothing more than an “elaboration of the facts relating to the claims in his first petition” in order to “correct deficiencies” with the first filing. The Court held that Stancle’s second petition included a new claim, inadequate trial counsel, and, therefore, was not entitled to gap tolling. As to the Stancle’s second argument that he is entitled to equitable tolling, the Court ruled that Stancle failed to show that but for his “mental incompetence” he would have made a timely filing. AFFIRMED.

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