Monday, April 13, 2020

Milam v. Harrington, No. 19-55213 (3-25-20)(Hurwitz w/Tashima & Friedland).

This is an equitable tolling case. The 9th vacates the dismissal of a habeas and remands.

The petitioner is serving a life sentence. Petitioner’s family retained counsel, and then subsequently retained another, to represent him in habeas. Each retained counsel blew deadlines. The state moved to dismiss the federal petition as untimely, and it was granted, despite the argument for equitable tolling.

The 9th held that the district court erred in (1) categorically finding that retained counsel obviated equitable tolling; and (2) that “true abandonment” by counsel was required.  As for the first claim, the petitioner raised his severe mental illness, which could have well contributed to his not being able to pursue his claims, or even track his petitions.

Congrats to Mike Drake, Deputy Federal Defender, Cal C (Los Angeles).

The decision is here:



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