When Can you file a §2255 Appeal
We will talk more about this below, but federal defendants only get one opportunity to file a motion of this type. Making it count is vitally important. To do this, three points must be made.
First, appropriate courthouse of jurisdiction must be established (meaning the pleading must be entered at the Court which imposed the sentence, not the local prison courthouse). Second, the arguments made must be applicable to a §2255 motion. Third, the filing has to happen within the allowable time period for habeas-style petitions.
Unlike direct appeals, which must be filed within two weeks (normally) after the judgment of sentence, a §2255 Motion can be filed in a twelve month time period. That is, the defendant must file this motion within one year of the latest of these four events:
- The date of final judgment;
- The date any obstacles to filing the motion by government action in violation of the constitution were removed;
- The date when the United States Supreme Court rules on a case which triggers an applicable argument to the prisoner;
- The date where triggering facts could have been discovered through research.
For clarification, in the first bullet above, a judgment becomes final when a sentencing hearing concludes or when any direct appeal to that conviction is entered. So if the Supreme Court refuses to hear an appeal, then the date of final judgment is the date where the Supreme Court petition for hearing is denied.
Inmates Get One Chance
Defendants only get one shot at filing a §2255, except in rare cases where new evidence is found, or the Supreme Court makes a startling ruling that changes the process of similar cases. Many, many inmates get help from other defendants they are incarcerated with to file a motion like this. Some are very good, but most times this is a total waste of the one shot a prisoner gets at filing a motion like this.
The moral of this story? Do the best work the first time around and avoid making common mistakes that get a defendant’s one chance at a §2255 tossed out before it even gets a chance to be heard.
If you would like to learn more about filing federal appeals, and what these motions can and cannot do, visit PCR Consultants for a full report.
You can also give us a call at (480) 382-9287 for a free, no obligation consultation regarding your questions about §2255 appeals.
The PCR Consultants Team
Federal 2255 Appeals