Time Limits on Filing a 2255 appeal

When Can you file a §2255 Appeal

We will talk more about this below, but federal defendants only get one shot at file an appeal of this type. Making it count is of the utmost importance. To do this, three hurdles must be overcome.

First, right court jurisdiction must be established (meaning the motion must be made to the Court which did the sentencing, not the local prison courthouse). Second, the arguments made must be applicable to a §2255 appeal. Third, the filing has to happen within the allowable time period for habeas-style petitions.

For an in-depth discussion on what constitutes an issue for direct appeal, go here. For an in-depth discussion on what constitutes an issue for §2255 appeals, go here.

Unlike direct appeals, which must be filed within 14 days (typically) after the judgment of sentence, a §2255 Appeal can be filed within a 1 year time period. That is, a defendant has to file this motion within one year of the latest of these four events:

  1. The date of final judgment;
  2. The date any obstacles to filing the motion by government action in violation of the constitution were removed;
  3. The date when the United States Supreme Court rules on a case which triggers an applicable argument to the prisoner;
  4. The date when axiomatic facts could have been discovered through research.

For clarification, in the first bullet above, a judgment becomes final when sentencing is pronounced or when any direct appeal to that judgment was entered. So if the Supreme Court refuses to hear an appeal, then the date of final judgment is the date that the Supreme Court petition for hearing is denied.

Prisoners Get One Shot

Inmates 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 which changes the process of similar cases. Many, many inmates get help from other inmates 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 inmate 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
(480) 382-9287

Federal 2255 Appeals

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