Post-Conviction Strategies

Habeas petitions/criminal appeals

Statutes of Limitations


NOTE: It is critical to file an appeal or habeas petition within the applicable time limitation or you may be barred from obtaining relief.

California State Appeals

            You must file a felony Notice of Appeal within 60 days of the judgment or order that you are appealing. Once the Court of Appeal announces its decision, you can apply to the California Supreme Court for review.  This application must be filed within 10 days after the Court of Appeal files its opinion.

Federal Habeas Corpus Petitions

            The Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”) places a one-year limitations period on the filing of federal petitions for writs of habeas corpus. Untimely federal petitions are barred from federal court review. Habeas corpus petitions subject to AEDPA’s limitations period generally must be filed within one year from the date judgment is final.

            For state prisoners, the statute of limitations usually begins to run on the date on which the judgment became final by the conclusion of direct review or the expiration of the time for seeking this review. If a state prisoner seeks discretionary review to the state's highest court, i.e.,  to the California Supreme Court, the state court judgment usually becomes final 90 days after the California Supreme Court denies review or relief.

            Therefore, the general rule (although there are limited exceptions) requires a state prisoner to file his or her federal habeas petition within one year and 90 days from the date the California Supreme Court denies relief.