Duncan v. Walker

Citation533 U.S. 167
Decision Date18 June 2001
Docket NumberNo. 00-121.,00-121.
CourtUnited States Supreme Court


O'Connor, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Rehnquist, C. J., and Scalia, Kennedy, Souter, and Thomas, JJ., joined. Souter, J., filed a concurring opinion, post, p. 182. Stevens, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment, in which Souter, J., joined, post, p. 182. Breyer, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which Ginsburg, J., joined, post, p. 185.

Preeta D. Bansal, Solicitor General of New York, argued the cause for petitioner. With her on the briefs were Eliot Spitzer, Attorney General, Daniel Smirlock, Deputy Solicitor General, and David Axinn, Robert H. Easton, Robin Forshaw, and Martin A. Hotvet, Assistant Solicitors General.

Deborah Wolikow Loewenberg, by appointment of the Court, 531 U. S. 1066, argued the cause for respondent. With her on the brief were John H. Blume and Keir M. Weyble.*

Justice O'Connor, delivered the opinion of the Court.

Title 28 U. S. C. § 2244(d)(2) (1994 ed., Supp. V) provides: "The time during which a properly filed application for State post-conviction or other collateral review with respect to the pertinent judgment or claim is pending shall not be counted toward any period of limitation under this subsection." This case presents the question whether a federal habeas corpus petition is an "application for State postconviction or other collateral review" within the meaning of this provision.


In 1992, several judgments of conviction for robbery were entered against respondent Sherman Walker in the New York state courts. The last of these convictions came in June 1992, when respondent pleaded guilty to robbery in the first degree in the New York Supreme Court, Queens County. Respondent was sentenced to 7 to 14 years in prison on this conviction.

Respondent unsuccessfully pursued a number of state remedies in connection with his convictions. It is unnecessary to describe all of these proceedings herein. Respondent's last conviction was affirmed on June 12, 1995. Respondent was later denied leave to appeal to the New York Court of Appeals. Respondent also sought a writ of error coram nobis, which the Appellate Division denied on March 18, 1996. Respondent's last conviction became final in April 1996, prior to the April 24, 1996, effective date of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA), 110 Stat. 1214.

In a single document dated April 10, 1996, respondent filed a complaint under Rev. Stat. § 1979, 42 U. S. C. § 1983, and a petition for habeas corpus under 28 U. S. C. § 2254 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. On July 9, 1996, the District Court dismissed the complaint and petition without prejudice. With respect to the habeas petition, the District Court, citing § 2254(b), concluded that respondent had not adequately set forth his claim because it was not apparent that respondent had exhausted available state remedies. The District Court noted that, for example, respondent had failed to specify the claims litigated in the state appellate proceedings relating to his robbery convictions.

On May 20, 1997, more than one year after AEDPA's effective date, respondent filed another federal habeas petition in the same District Court. It is undisputed that respondent had not returned to state court since the dismissal of his first federal habeas filing. On May 6, 1998, the District Court dismissed the petition as time barred because respondent had not filed the petition within a "reasonable time" from AEDPA's effective date.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed the District Court's judgment, reinstated the habeas petition, and remanded the case for further proceedings. Walker v. Artuz, 208 F. 3d 357 (2000). The Court of Appeals noted at the outset that, because respondent's conviction had become final prior to AEDPA's effective date, he had until April 24, 1997, to file his federal habeas petition. The court also observed that the exclusion from the limitation period of the time during which respondent's first federal habeas petition was pending in the District Court would render the instant habeas petition timely.

The Court of Appeals held that respondent's first federal habeas petition had tolled the limitation period because it was an application for "other collateral review" within the meaning of § 2244(d)(2). The court characterized the disjunctive "or" between "post-conviction" and "other collateral" as creating a "distinct break" between two kinds of review. Id., at 359. The court also stated that application of the word "State" to both "post-conviction" and "other collateral" would create a "linguistic oddity" in the form of the construction "State other collateral review." Id., at 360. The court further reasoned that the phrase "other collateral review" would be meaningless if it did not refer to federal habeas petitions. The court therefore concluded that the word "State" modified only "post-conviction."

The Court of Appeals also found no conflict between its interpretation of the statute and the purpose of AEDPA. The court found instead that its construction would promote the goal of encouraging petitioners to file their federal habeas applications as soon as possible.

We granted certiorari, 531 U. S. 991 (2000), to resolve a conflict between the Second Circuit's decision and the decisions of three other Courts of Appeals. See Jiminez v. Rice, 222 F. 3d 1210 (CA9 2000); Grooms v. Johnson, 208 F. 3d 488 (CA5 1999) (per curiam); Jones v. Morton, 195 F. 3d 153 (CA3 1999). One other Court of Appeals has since adopted the Second Circuit's view. Petrick v. Martin, 236 F. 3d 624 (CA10 2001). We now reverse.


Our task is to construe what Congress has enacted. We begin, as always, with the language of the statute. See, e. g., Williams v. Taylor, 529 U. S. 420, 431 (2000); Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio v. Betts, 492 U. S. 158, 175 (1989); Watt v. Energy Action Ed. Foundation, 454 U. S. 151, 162 (1981). Respondent reads § 2244(d)(2) to apply the word "State" only to the term "post-conviction" and not to the phrase "other collateral." Under this view, a properly filed federal habeas petition tolls the limitation period. Petitioner contends that the word "State" applies to the entire phrase "post-conviction or other collateral review." Under this view, a properly filed federal habeas petition does not toll the limitation period.

We believe that petitioner's interpretation of § 2244(d)(2) is correct for several reasons. To begin with, Congress placed the word "State" before "post-conviction or other collateral review" without specifically naming any kind of "Federal" review. The essence of respondent's position is that Congress used the phrase "other collateral review" to incorporate federal habeas petitions into the class of applications for review that toll the limitation period. But a comparison of the text of § 2244(d)(2) with the language of other AEDPA provisions supplies strong evidence that, had Congress intended to include federal habeas petitions within the scope of § 2244(d)(2), Congress would have mentioned "Federal" review expressly. In several other portions of AEDPA, Congress specifically used both the words "State" and "Federal" to denote state and federal proceedings. For example, 28 U. S. C. § 2254(i) (1994 ed., Supp. V) provides: "The ineffectiveness or incompetence of counsel during Federal or State collateral post-conviction proceedings shall not be a ground for relief in a proceeding arising under section 2254." Likewise, the first sentence of 28 U. S. C. § 2261(e) (1994 ed., Supp. V) provides: "The ineffectiveness or incompetence of counsel during State or Federal post-conviction proceedings in a capital case shall not be a ground for relief in a proceeding arising under section 2254." The second sentence of § 2261(e) states: "This limitation shall not preclude the appointment of different counsel, on the court's own motion or at the request of the prisoner, at any phase of State or Federal post-conviction proceedings on the basis of the ineffectiveness or incompetence of counsel in such proceedings." Finally, 28 U. S. C. § 2264(a)(3) (1994 ed., Supp. V) excuses a state capital prisoner's failure to raise a claim properly in state court where the failure is "based on a factual predicate that could not have been discovered through the exercise of due diligence in time to present the claim for State or Federal post-conviction review."

Section 2244(d)(2), by contrast, employs the word "State," but not the word "Federal," as a modifier for "review." It is well settled that "`where Congress includes particular language in one section of a statute but omits it in another section of the same Act, it is generally presumed that Congress acts intentionally and purposely in the disparate inclusion or exclusion.' " Bates v. United States, 522 U. S. 23, 29-30 (1997) (quoting Russello v. United States, 464 U. S. 16, 23 (1983)). We find no likely explanation for Congress' omission of the word "Federal" in § 2244(d)(2) other than that Congress did not intend properly filed applications for federal review to toll the limitation period. It would be anomalous, to say the least, for Congress to usher in federal review under the generic rubric of "other collateral review" in a statutory provision that refers expressly to "State" review, while denominating expressly both "State" and "Federal" proceedings in other parts of the same statute. The anomaly is underscored by the fact that the words "State" and "Federal" are likely to be of no small import when Congress drafts a statute that governs federal collateral review of state court judgments.

Further, were we to adopt respon...

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