Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Bowles v. Russell the triumph of form over substance!

The Supreme Court ruled on June 14, 2007, that a federal habeas petitioner (murder defendant) who relied on the district court's wrong statement regarding the deadline for filing a notice of appeal had no right to relief and no avenue of appeal.

The Court stated that the rules relating to the taking of appeal in a civil case are mandatory and jurisdictional. The appellant petitioner's failure to timely file a NOA, even when the district court erroneously told him he did have time to file, divested that appellate court of jurisdiction to hear the habeas petition, and the district court of jurisdiction to deem the NOA timely filed as an equitable matter.

The practical effect of this is that habeas or appellate counsel must timely file the NOA in denial of 2254 petitions and CANNOT rely upon a district court's statements regarding the deadline.

Bowles v. Russell:

Chip Venie is a private criminal defense attorney in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is admitted to practice before state and federal courts in New Mexico, California, Washington, D.C., and Michigan. Mr. Venie graduated from The University of Virginia School of Law and clerked as a staff Attorney to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Virginia. Mr. Venie has litigated over 700 trial level felony matters and over 150 appeals. Mr. Venie can be reached at (505) 766-9000 or 619) 235-8300, or


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