Carey v. Saffold, 536 U.S. 214, 4 (2002)

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Cite as: 536 U. S. 214 (2002)

Opinion of the Court

application for state collateral review is "pending" in the state courts. 2244(d)(2).

This case raises three questions related to the statutory word "pending":

(1) Does that word cover the time between a lower state court's decision and the filing of a notice of appeal to a higher state court?

(2) If so, does it apply similarly to California's unique state collateral review system—a system that does not involve a notice of appeal, but rather the filing (within a reasonable time) of a further original state habeas petition in a higher court?

(3) If so, was the petition at issue here (filed in the California Supreme Court 41/2 months after the lower state court reached its decision) pending during that period, or was it no longer pending because it failed to comply with state timeliness rules?

We answer the first two questions affirmatively, while remanding the case to the Court of Appeals for its further consideration of the third.

I

In 1990 Tony Saffold, the respondent, was convicted and sentenced in California state court for murder, assault with a firearm, and robbery. His conviction became final on direct review in April 1992. Because Saffold's conviction became final before AEDPA took effect, the federal limitations period began running on AEDPA's effective date, April 24, 1996, giving Saffold one year from that date (in the absence of tolling) to file a federal habeas petition.

A week before the federal deadline, Saffold filed a state habeas petition in the state trial court. The state trial court denied the petition. Five days later Saffold filed a further petition in the State Court of Appeal. That court denied his petition. And 41/2 months later Saffold filed a further petition in the California Supreme Court. That court also denied Saffold's petition, stating in a single sentence that it did

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