Cases & Deals

Sixth Circuit applies equitable tolling to state prisoner

Clients Huey, Mr. Joseph T.

In Huey v. Smith, Jones Day Cleveland Partner John Lewis and associates Meggan Rawlin and Josephine Noble argued in the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit on behalf of an indigent state prisoner that equitable tolling should apply to the one-year statute of limitations found in the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act ("AEDPA"). Petitioner Huey had filed an initial habeas corpus petition with 98 days remaining under AEDPA's statute of limitations. The district court dismissed the first timely-filed petition without prejudice to allow for exhaustion of certain claims. Huey filed a second habeas petition after exhaustion. The district court then dismissed the second petition with prejudice as time barred under AEDPA because Huey had failed to return to state court within the remaining 98 days.

The appeal asserted that equitable tolling was appropriate under the circumstances because neither AEDPA, case law, nor the district court provided the petitioner with actual or constructive notice that he had only 98 days to pursue exhaustion. At the close of oral argument, senior panel member Judge Martin complimented Ms. Rawlin for her work on the case and thanked the Firm for its unique commitment to pro bono representation, as it facilitates the Court's work. He commented that "this is the fifth appeal that I've heard in the last two months where an associate of Jones Day has taken a pro bono case and given it the quality appellate advocacy that you hope to see in all cases. . . We applaud (the senior Partners' committee's) commitment to the pro bono program that they have undertaken, and we would hope that every major law firm in our four states would do the same." Judge Daughtrey joined in the praise.

Huey v. Smith