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Monday, February 12, 2007

Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit today has two interesting, non-Indiana cases

The first, USA v. Nettles, Gale, involves the appeal of Gale Nettles, who was charged with attempting to destroy the federal courthouse in Chicago. Howard Bashman of How Appealing has a write-up here.

The second is a prisoner appeal, Moore, Allan O. v. Madigan, Lisa, where Judge Manion writes:

Allan Moore filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in federal court challenging his conviction in Illinois state court. The district court dismissed the petition as time-barred. Moore appeals, arguing that the deadline for filing his petition should have been tolled because of an inadequate prison library, which allegedly did not contain the relevant statute of limitations. Because the factual record is insufficiently developed, we vacate the district court’s dismissal and remand for further proceedings. * * *

We cannot glean from the record whether the prison library contained the relevant statute of limitations. Although Moore does not unequivocally assert that the library lacked the statute of limitations, he does assert that there are “no lawbooks in [his] cell nor are they letting us go to the maximum Law Library for Federal Habeas Corpus for State Prisoner’s [sic].” Moore also claims that the books that are available are “real old,” irrelevant to his needs, and that the law has changed from that available in the library. The state never had an opportunity to respond to this contention. The record thus does not establish whether the prison library was adequate. Accordingly, just as the Fifth and Ninth Circuits proceeded, we consider it premature to answer the question of whether an inadequate library provides a basis for statutory or equitable tolling. If, on remand, the district court determines that the library contained a copy of the statute of limitations and the state did not prevent Moore from accessing the statute, there would be no need to reach the further legal question regarding tolling. We therefore express no opinion at this time regarding whether an inadequate prison library may provide a basis for statutory or equitable tolling.

III. Because the factual record is insufficiently developed, we VACATE the district court’s dismissal and REMAND for further proceedings.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 12, 2007 01:48 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions