Clay v. United States, 537 U.S. 522, 5 (2003)

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526

CLAY v. UNITED STATES

Opinion of the Court

tion more than one year after that date, the court denied the motion as time barred.

The Seventh Circuit affirmed. That court declined Clay's "invitation to reconsider our holding in Gendron," although it acknowledged that Gendron's "construction of section 2255 represents the minority view." 30 Fed. Appx. 607, 609 (2002). "Bowing to stare decisis," the court expressed "reluctan[ce] to overrule [its own] recently-reaffirmed precedent without guidance from the Supreme Court." Ibid.

The Fourth Circuit has agreed with Gendron's interpretation of 2255. See United States v. Torres, 211 F. 3d 836, 838-842 (2000) (when a federal prisoner does not file a petition for certiorari, his judgment of conviction becomes final for 2255 purposes upon issuance of the court of appeals' mandate). Six Courts of Appeals have parted ways with the Seventh and Fourth Circuits. These courts hold that, for federal prisoners like Clay who do not file petitions for certiorari following affirmance of their convictions, 2255's one-year limitation period begins to run when the defend-ant's time for seeking review by this Court expires.1 To secure uniformity in the application of 2255's time constraint, we granted certiorari, 536 U. S. 957 (2002), and now reverse the Seventh Circuit's judgment.2

1 See Derman v. United States, 298 F. 3d 34, 39-42 (CA1 2002); Kapral v. United States, 166 F. 3d 565, 567-577 (CA3 1999); United States v. Gamble, 208 F. 3d 536, 537 (CA5 2000) (per curiam); United States v. Garcia, 210 F. 3d 1058, 1059-1061 (CA9 2000); United States v. Burch, 202 F. 3d 1274, 1275-1279 (CA10 2000); Kaufmann v. United States, 282 F. 3d 1336, 1337-1339 (CA11 2002).

2 Agreeing with the position advanced by the majority of the courts of appeals that have ruled on the question, the United States joins petitioner Clay in urging that Clay's 2255 motion was timely filed. We therefore invited David W. DeBruin to brief and argue this case, as amicus curiae, in support of the Seventh Circuit's judgment. Mr. DeBruin's able advocacy permits us to decide the case satisfied that the relevant issues have been fully aired.

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