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Martin v. Bartow, 09-2947

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By FindLaw Staff on December 09, 2010 3:27 PM

Dismissal of habeas relief as untimely reversed

Martin v. Bartow, 09-2947, concerned a challenge to the district court's dismissal of defendant's petition for habeas relief from his civil commitment as a sexually violent person based on a 1988 conviction for second degree sexual assault.  In reversing, the court remanded the case in concluding that defendant's petition is not barred by the one-year statute of limitation in 28 U.S.C. section 2244(d)(1), as the district court incorrectly interpreted defendant's petition to be a challenge to the original 1996 commitment order, rather than to the 2005 order continuing commitment.

As the court wrote: "In order to succeed, Martin does not neet to show that a petitioner always challenges the most recent judgment continuing his or her civil commitment.  Instead, he only needs to show that he is challenging the most recent judgment in this case.  In fact, there is no dispute that when he filed his petition, Martin was in custody pursuant to the 2005 judgment, and that he challenged one of the grounds upon which the Wisconsin courts upheld that judgment.  Thus, there is nothing in the language of the statute that leads us to believe he is challenging any judgment other than the one which he claims to be challenging."

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