Moore v. Gibson, No. O 2001-30.

CourtUnited States State Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma. Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma
Writing for the CourtLILE.
Citation2001 OK CR 8,27 P.3d 483
PartiesJames Alvin MOORE, III, Petitioner, v. Gary E. GIBSON, Respondent.
Decision Date04 April 2001
Docket NumberNo. O 2001-30.

27 P.3d 483
2001 OK CR 8

James Alvin MOORE, III, Petitioner,
v.
Gary E. GIBSON, Respondent

No. O 2001-30.

Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma.

April 4, 2001.


27 P.3d 484
OPINION ANSWERING CERTIFIED QUESTION OF LAW

LILE, Judge:

¶ 1 Bobby R. Baldock, Presiding Judge of a three judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, has certified a question of law pursuant to the Oklahoma Uniform Certification of Question of Law Act, 20 O.S.Supp.1997, §§ 1601-1611, as follows:

Okla.Stat.Ann. tit. 22 § 1081 authorizes the filing of petitions for post-conviction relief, but does not define what constitutes "filing." Federal procedural law recognizes the "prisoner mailbox rule" whereby prose prisoners' legal pleadings are considered filed when given to prison authorities for mailing to the appropriate court. See Houston v. Lack, 487 U.S. 266, 108 S.Ct. 2379, 101 L.Ed.2d 245 (1988). The Oklahoma Supreme Court held that the prisoner mailbox rule enunciated in Houston applies to appeals to that court. See Woody v. State ex rel. Department of Corrections, 833 P.2d 257, 259-60 (Okla.1992). The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals subsequently rejected Woody and held the prisoner mailbox rule inapplicable to criminal appeals. See Hunnicutt v. State, 952 P.2d 988, 989 (Okla.Crim.App.1997). However, Hunnicutt and its progeny have not addressed the constitutional concerns underlying the holding in Woody. Moreover, neither Woody nor Hunnicutt addressed the applicability of the prisoner mailbox rule to initial filings in Oklahoma district courts. Given these ambiguities in Oklahoma law, does the prisoner mailbox rule apply to filings in Oklahoma district courts for post conviction relief made pursuant to Okla.Stat.Ann. tit. 22, § 1081?

¶ 2 The specific question before us, whether the "prisoner mailbox rule" applies to filing in Oklahoma district courts pursuant to the Post Conviction Procedure Act (hereinafter the Act), 22 O.S.1991, § 1080, can be answered by stating that the "prisoner mailbox rule" does not apply to these filings, because: (1) the clear and unambiguous language of the statute does not provide for any other means of filing; (2) the definition of "filing" means when a document is delivered to the proper court for the purpose thereof; and (3) there is no statutory time limitation for the filing of an application for post-conviction relief in a district court in Oklahoma in a non-capital case; therefore, policy considerations do not require the adoption of a "prisoner mail box rule."1

27 P.3d 485
FACTS

¶ 3 These relevant facts are taken from the order of the federal court certifying this question of law.

¶ 4 Petitioner filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the federal court system concerning a non-capital case. Because his state conviction became final before the passage of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA), he had until April 23, 1997, to file a federal habeas petition. However, this deadline could be tolled if a state post-conviction proceeding were pending.

¶ 5 Petitioner filed, in a District Court of Oklahoma, an application for post-conviction relief which was received and file stamped on April 24, 1997, after the April 23 deadline. However, Petitioner claims that he tendered the application to prison officials on April 17, 1997, and urges this date as the effective date of filing, thereby, tolling the limitations period of the AEDPA.

THE REVISED UNIFORM CERTIFICATION OF QUESTION OF LAW ACT

¶ 6 The Uniform Certification of Question of Law Act became effective in Oklahoma on July 1, 1973. 20 O.S.Supp. 1997, § 1601. Pursuant to the Act, this Court,

may answer a question of law certified to it by a court of the United States, or by an appellate court of another state, or of a federally recognized Indian tribal government, or of Canada, a Canadian province or territory, Mexico, or a Mexican state, if the answer may be determinative of an issue in pending litigation in the certifying court and there is no controlling decision of the Supreme Court or Court of Criminal Appeals, constitutional provision, or statute of this state.

2O O.S.Supp.1997, § 1602; see Canady v. Reynolds, 1994 OK CR 54, 880 P.2d 391, 393-94. This Court has the power to give the present state of the law as well as use the opportunity to create new precedents in answering a certified question of law. Canady, 880 P.2d at 395. In doing so we may reformulate or re-interpret a question of law certified to this Court. See Id., 20 O.S.Supp.1997, § 1602.1.

DISCUSSION

¶ 7 The question posed requires us to interpret a statute which deals exclusively with criminal procedure. The power to do so has been granted to this Court by the Oklahoma Constitution. This Court has exclusive appellate jurisdiction over criminal cases in Oklahoma. Okla. Const. art. 7, § 4; see Banks v. State, 1998 OK CR 5, 953 P.2d 344, 346; see also State ex rel. Henry v. Mahler, 1990 OK 3, 786 P.2d 82, 85. Actions brought pursuant to the Oklahoma Uniform Post Conviction Procedure Act are criminal actions. State ex rel. Coats v. Hunter, 1978 OK CR 57, 580 P.2d 158, 159.

¶ 8 We answer the question posed by first defining the meaning of the term "filing" found in § 1081. Section 1081 of the Act provides that "[a] proceeding is commenced by filing a verified application... with the clerk of the court imposing judgment... [or] the clerk of the district court in the county in which. . . parole or conditional release was revoked." 22 O.S.1991, § 1081.

¶ 9 The courts of this State have been consistent in their interpretation and definition of the word "filed" since statehood. In Covington v. Fisher, 22 Okla. 207, 97 P. 615, 615 & 617 (1908), the Oklahoma Supreme Court held that a mortgage is filed, within the meaning of the statute, when it is delivered to the proper officer, and by him received for the purpose of being recorded.

¶ 10 In Norris v. Cross, 25 Okla. 287, 105 P. 1000, 1003 (1909), the Court stated,

A paper is filed when it is delivered into the actual custody of the officer designated by the statute, to be kept by him as a permanent record of his office, and the placing by the officer of his mark or indorsement
27 P.3d 486
upon such instrument is only a memorandum or evidence that the filing has been made. Covington v. Fisher (Okl.) [22 Okla. 207] 97 Pac. [P.] 615; State v.
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30 practice notes
  • Silverbrand v. County of Los Angeles, No. S143929.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • April 23, 2009
    ...82 Conn.App. 600, 604, 847 A.2d 1009; Gonzales v. State (2002) 118 Nev. 590, 53 P.3d 901, 903-904; Moore v. Gibson (Okla.Crim.App.2001) 27 P.3d 483, 484; State v. McLean (2003) 150 Wash.2d 583, 80 P.3d 587, 15. See In re Rashid (3d Cir.2000) 210 F.3d 201, 204 (motion for rehg. in bankruptcy......
  • Wood v. McCollum, Case No. CIV-13-628-M
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. Western District of Oklahoma
    • February 2, 2016
    ...Resp't's Br. in Opp'n at 31-37 (citing 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b)(2), (c); OCCA R. 5.2(C)); Okla. Stat. tit. 22, § 1080; accord Moore v. Gibson, 27 P.3d 483, 487 (Okla. Crim. App. 2001) ("There are no [statutory] time limitations for the filing of an application for post-conviction relief in a dis......
  • Johnson v. Champion, No. 01-6183.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Tenth Circuit
    • April 26, 2002
    ...out of time" procedure allows a trial court "to resolve factual disputes concerning why an appeal was not timely filed." Moore v. Gibson, 27 P.3d 483, 487 (Okla.Crim.App. In light of the procedural history of Johnson's first application for post-conviction relief, and in light of Oklahoma p......
  • Burger v. Scott, No. 01-6285.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Tenth Circuit
    • January 15, 2003
    ...Because Oklahoma imposes no time limits for filing applications for post-conviction relief in the district courts, see Moore v. Gibson, 27 P.3d 483, 487 (Okla.Crim.App.2001), the filing date had no bearing on the timeliness of Burger's state petition, which was ultimately denied on the meri......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
30 cases
  • Silverbrand v. County of Los Angeles, No. S143929.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • April 23, 2009
    ...82 Conn.App. 600, 604, 847 A.2d 1009; Gonzales v. State (2002) 118 Nev. 590, 53 P.3d 901, 903-904; Moore v. Gibson (Okla.Crim.App.2001) 27 P.3d 483, 484; State v. McLean (2003) 150 Wash.2d 583, 80 P.3d 587, 15. See In re Rashid (3d Cir.2000) 210 F.3d 201, 204 (motion for rehg. in bankruptcy......
  • Wood v. McCollum, Case No. CIV-13-628-M
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. Western District of Oklahoma
    • February 2, 2016
    ...Resp't's Br. in Opp'n at 31-37 (citing 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b)(2), (c); OCCA R. 5.2(C)); Okla. Stat. tit. 22, § 1080; accord Moore v. Gibson, 27 P.3d 483, 487 (Okla. Crim. App. 2001) ("There are no [statutory] time limitations for the filing of an application for post-conviction relief in a dis......
  • Johnson v. Champion, No. 01-6183.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Tenth Circuit
    • April 26, 2002
    ...out of time" procedure allows a trial court "to resolve factual disputes concerning why an appeal was not timely filed." Moore v. Gibson, 27 P.3d 483, 487 (Okla.Crim.App. In light of the procedural history of Johnson's first application for post-conviction relief, and in light of Oklahoma p......
  • Burger v. Scott, No. 01-6285.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Tenth Circuit
    • January 15, 2003
    ...Because Oklahoma imposes no time limits for filing applications for post-conviction relief in the district courts, see Moore v. Gibson, 27 P.3d 483, 487 (Okla.Crim.App.2001), the filing date had no bearing on the timeliness of Burger's state petition, which was ultimately denied on the meri......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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