April 13, 2011
On February 23, 2011, the Supreme Court announced its decision in Walker v. Martin. The case involves a California rule that bars a state inmate from prevailing on his or her petition for habeas corpus relief in state court if the inmate "substantially delayed" in filing the petition. The question before the Supreme Court was whether an inmate's failure to satisfy this state timeliness rule constituted grounds for denying the inmate’s otherwise timely petition for similar habeas relief in federal court.
In a unanimous opinion delivered by Justice Ginsburg, the Court held that California's timeliness rule qualifies as an independent state ground that is adequate to bar habeas relief in federal court.
To discuss the case, we have Kent S. Scheidegger, who is the Legal Director of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation.