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Will Matthews, (212) 549-2582 or 2666;

Supreme Court in Holland v. Florida Affirms Importance of Fairness in Construing Habeas Deadlines

NEW YORK - The U.S. Supreme Court today ruled in Holland v. Florida that the one-year statute of limitation
for habeas filings under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty
Act of 1996 can be put on hold in certain circumstances, including
attorney misconduct. The ruling came in the case of Albert Holland, a
prisoner on Florida's death row whose lawyer missed the deadline for
asking federal courts to review his conviction and death sentence.

The following can
be attributed to John Holdridge, Director of the American Civil
Liberties Union Capital Punishment Project:

"This decision is a victory for basic
fairness. Disturbingly, there are death row inmates who have not been
able to file a federal habeas petition because their attorneys missed a
filing deadline. For the first time, the Court has held that they will
now have an opportunity to show that they should be allowed to file a
petition if the deadline has passed because of attorney misconduct or
gross negligence."


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