Clay v. United States, 537 U.S. 522, 2 (2003)

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Cite as: 537 U. S. 522 (2003)


2244(d)(1)(A) speaks of "the date on which the judgment became final by the conclusion of direct review or the expiration of the time for seeking such review." When "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." Russello v. United States, 464 U. S. 16, 23. Invoking the maxim recited in Russello, amicus asserts that "becomes final" in 2255, ¶ 6(1), cannot mean the same thing as "became final" in 2244(d)(1)(A); reading the two as synonymous, amicus maintains, would render superfluous the words "by the conclusion of direct review or the expiration of the time for seeking such review"— words found only in the latter provision. If 2255, ¶ 6(1), explicitly incorporated the first of 2244(d)(1)(A)'s finality formulations, one might indeed question the soundness of interpreting 2255 implicitly to incorporate 2244(d)(1)(A)'s second trigger as well. As written, however, 2255 leaves "becomes final" undefined. Russello hardly warrants a decision that would hold the 2255 petitioner to a tighter time constraint than the petitioner governed by 2244(d)(1)(A). An unqualified term, Russello indicates, calls for a reading surely no less broad than a pinpointed one. Moreover, one can readily comprehend why Congress might have found it appropriate to spell out the meaning of "final" in 2244(d)(1)(A) but not in 2255. Section 2244(d)(1) governs petitions by state prisoners. In that context, a bare reference to "became final" might have suggested that finality assessments should be made by reference to state-law rules. Those rules may differ from the general federal rule and vary from State to State. The qualifying words in 2244(d)(1)(A) make it clear that finality is to be determined by reference to a uniform federal rule. Section 2255, however, governs only petitions by federal prisoners; within the federal system there is no comparable risk of varying rules to guard against. Pp. 528-531.

(c) Section 2263—which prescribes a limitation period for certain habeas petitions filed by death-sentenced state prisoners—does not alter the Court's reading of 2255. First, amicus' reliance on 2263 encounters essentially the same problem as does his reliance on 2244(d)(1)(A): Section 2255, ¶ 6(1), refers to neither of the two events that 2263(a) identifies as possible starting points for the limitation period—"affirmance of the conviction and sentence on direct review" and "the expiration of the time for seeking such review." Thus, reasoning by negative implication from 2263 does not justify the conclusion that 2255,

¶ 6(1)'s limitation period begins to run at one of those times rather than the other. Second, 2263(a) ties the applicable limitation period to "affirmance of the conviction and sentence," while 2255, ¶ 6(1), ties the limitation period to the date when "the judgment of conviction becomes


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