ARTUZ v. BENNETT

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
99-1238
Petitioner 
Artuz
Respondent 
Bennett
Opinion 
Advocates
(Argued the cause for the petitioner)
(As amicus curiae, by special leave of the Court, for petitioner)
(Argued the cause for the respondent)
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Facts of the Case 

In 1984, after firing two bullets at police during a car chase, Tony Bruce Bennett was convicted of attempted murder, among other crimes. Bennett moved pro se to vacate his judgment of conviction in 1995. A New York trial court orally denied Bennett's motion. Bennett claimed that he never received a copy of a written order reflecting the denial. In 1998, Bennett filed a federal habeas corpus petition alleging violations of his rights to present witnesses in his defense and to a fair trial, to be present at all material stages of the trial, and to the effective assistance of counsel. The Federal District Court dismissed Bennett's federal habeas corpus petition as untimely under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA), which set a 1-year period of limitation on federal habeas corpus applications by state prisoners. In reversing, the Court of Appeals held that Bennett's habeas petition was not time-barred because his 1995 motion was still pending, under the AEDPA's tolling provision, since he had never received notification of the state's decision regarding it. Thus, the time for appealing the denial of that motion had not yet expired. Additionally, the court found that the 1995 motion was a "properly filed" application, even though the claims contained in the motion were procedurally barred under two New York statutory provisions.

Question 

Is an application for state postconviction relief containing procedurally barred claims properly filed within the meaning of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996?

Conclusion 
Decision: 9 votes for Bennett, 0 vote(s) against
Legal provision: 8 U.S.C. 2244

Yes. In a unanimous opinion delivered by Justice Antonin Scalia, the Court held that an application for state postconviction relief containing procedurally barred claims is properly filed within the meaning of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996. Writing for the unanimous court, Justice Antonin Scalia said that "[o]nly individual claims, and not the application containing those claims, can be procedurally defaulted under state law." "An application is 'filed,' as that term is commonly understood, when it is delivered to, and accepted by, the appropriate court officer for placement into the official record," noted Justice Scalia. "By construing 'properly filed application' to mean 'application raising claims that are not mandatorily procedurally barred,' [the Federal Government] elides the difference between an 'application' and a 'claim,'" argued Justice Scalia.

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ARTUZ v. BENNETT. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 05 April 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2000/2000_99_1238>.
ARTUZ v. BENNETT, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2000/2000_99_1238 (last visited April 5, 2014).
"ARTUZ v. BENNETT," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed April 5, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2000/2000_99_1238.