Duncan v. Walker, 533 U.S. 167 (2001)

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certiorari to the united states court of appeals for the second circuit

No. 00-121. Argued March 26, 2001—Decided June 18, 2001

The time during which an "application for State post-conviction or other collateral review" is pending tolls the limitation period for filing federal habeas petitions. 28 U. S. C. 2244(d)(2). Before the April 24, 1996, effective date of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA), respondent's state robbery conviction became final. He filed, inter alia, a federal habeas petition under 2254. The District Court dismissed the petition without prejudice because it was not apparent that respondent had exhausted available state remedies. On May 20, 1997, without having returned to state court, respondent filed another federal habeas petition. The District Court dismissed that petition because respondent had not filed within a reasonable time from AEDPA's effective date. In reversing, the Second Circuit found that respondent's first federal habeas petition was an application for "other collateral review" that tolled the limitation period under 2244(d)(2) and made his current petition timely.

Held: A federal habeas petition is not an "application for State post-conviction or other collateral review" within the meaning of 2244(d)(2). As a result, 2244(d)(2) did not toll the limitation period during the pendency of respondent's first federal habeas petition. The Court begins with the language of the statute. See, e. g., Williams v. Taylor, 529 U. S. 420, 431. Petitioner's contention that "State" applies to the entire phrase "post-conviction or other collateral review" is correct. To begin with, Congress placed "State" before that phrase without specifically naming any kind of "Federal" review. The fact that other AEDPA provisions denominate expressly both "State" and "Federal" proceedings, see, e. g., 2254(i), supplies strong evidence that Congress would have mentioned "Federal" review expressly had Congress intended to include federal review. See Bates v. United States, 522 U. S. 23, 29-30. Respondent's contrary construction would render the word "State" insignificant, if not wholly superfluous. This Court's duty to give effect, where possible, to every word of a statute, United States v. Menasche, 348 U. S. 528, 538-539, makes the Court reluctant to treat statutory terms as surplusage. This is especially so when the


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