Clay v. United States, 537 U.S. 522, 3 (2003)

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Opinion of the Court

final." "The Russello presumption . . . grows weaker with each difference in the formulation of the provisions under inspection." Columbus v. Ours Garage & Wrecker Service, Inc., 536 U. S. 424, 435-436. Pp. 531-532.

30 Fed. Appx. 607, reversed and remanded.

Ginsburg, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court.

Thomas C. Goldstein, by appointment of the Court, 537 U. S. 808, argued the cause for petitioner. With him on the briefs was Amy Howe.

Matthew D. Roberts argued the cause for the United States. With him on the briefs were Solicitor General Olson, Assistant Attorney General Chertoff, and Deputy Solicitor General Dreeben.

David W. DeBruin, by invitation of the Court, 536 U. S. 974, argued the cause and filed a brief as amicus curiae in support of the judgment below. With him on the brief was Elaine J. Goldenberg.

Justice Ginsburg delivered the opinion of the Court. A motion by a federal prisoner for postconviction relief under 28 U. S. C. 2255 is subject to a one-year time limitation that generally runs from "the date on which the judgment of conviction becomes final." 2255, ¶ 6(1). This case concerns the starting date for the one-year limitation. It presents a narrow but recurring question on which courts of appeals have divided: When a defendant in a federal prosecution takes an unsuccessful direct appeal from a judgment of conviction, but does not next petition for a writ of certiorari from this Court, does the judgment become "final" for post-conviction relief purposes (1) when the appellate court issues its mandate affirming the conviction, or, instead, (2) on the date, ordinarily 69 days later, when the time for filing a petition for certiorari expires?

In accord with this Court's consistent understanding of finality in the context of collateral review, and the weight of lower court authority, we reject the issuance of the appellate

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