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Holland v. Florida: A Prisoner's Last Chance, Attorney Error, and the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act's One-Year Statute of Limitations for Federal Habeas Corpus Review

48 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2010  

Marni von Wilpert

Fordham Law Review

Abstract

When should a prisoner be held accountable for his attorney’s negligence or misconduct? Since the mid-1990’s, courts throughout the nation were deciding this question, after a growing tide of attorneys failed to meet the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act’s one-year statute of limitations when filing federal habeas corpus petitions on behalf of their incarcerated clients. In Holland v. Florida, the Supreme Court decided once and for all when a prisoner would be given another chance to file his habeas corpus petition through the doctrine of equitable tolling when the only reason his petition was late was the fault of his attorney. This Comment explores the issues raised by the Holland decision. In doing so, this Comment analyzes the principles of agency law and professional responsibility - the foundations of the attorney-client relationship - and raises questions as to whether these principles are properly applied to incarcerated clients in the post-conviction context. This Comment ultimately concludes that while Holland was properly decided, the Court misapplied agency law to support its decision and did not go far enough in extending the protection of equitable tolling to all prisoners who have been turned away from the courts because they detrimentally relied on their defaulting attorneys.

Keywords: Holland v. Florida, Habeas Corpus, Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, limitations, Attorney Mistake

Suggested Citation

von Wilpert, Marni, Holland v. Florida: A Prisoner's Last Chance, Attorney Error, and the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act's One-Year Statute of Limitations for Federal Habeas Corpus Review. Fordham Law Review, Vol. 79, p. 1429, 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1712584

Marni Von Wilpert (Contact Author)

Fordham Law Review ( email )

140 West 62nd Street
New York, NY 10023
United States

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