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Bills v. Clark, No. 08-17517

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By FindLaw Staff on December 09, 2010 10:11 PM

In Bills v. Clark, No. 08-17517, a prosecution for possession of a sharp instrument by a state prisoner, the dismissal of petitioner's habeas petition is reversed where equitable tolling is permissible when a petitioner can show a mental impairment so severe that petitioner was unable personally either to understand the need to timely file or prepare a habeas petition, and that impairment made it impossible under the totality of the circumstances to meet the filing deadline despite petitioner's diligence.

  • As the court wrote:  "This case requires us to consider when a petitioner's mental condition may constitute an extraordinary circumstance justifying equitable tolling of the untimely filing of a habeas petition. We conclude equitable tolling is permissible when a petitioner can show a mental impairment so severe that the petitioner was unable personally either to understand the need to timely file or prepare a habeas petition, and that impairment made it impossible under the totality of the circumstances to meet the filing deadline despite petitioner's diligence."

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