High court won’t let man appeal murder conviction

Jan 10, 2012, 4:03 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court won’t let a man sentenced to prison for murder appeal his conviction despite his complaints that his window for further consideration was unfairly closed.

The high court on Tuesday upheld the ruling by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of Rafael Arriaza Gonzalez.

Gonzalez appealed his conviction for murder and his 30-year sentence in 2006 but missed one of the state lower court appeals deadlines. The federal courts since then have refused to hear his appeal, saying he filed in federal court one month after the required one-year deadline.

The courts started counting from the day Gonzalez missed the state court deadline, but the inmate said they should have started counting after the Texas courts officially declared his case over.

The high court said that the lower courts had correctly calculated the deadline for Gonzalez to file. Justice Sonya Sotomayor wrote that Gonzalez’s one-year deadline to appeal to the federal court began when he missed the state court filing date. Since Gonzalez filed one month after that one-year cutoff, the judgment against him became final, she said.

Justice Antonin Scalia was the only dissenter in this case.

The case is Gonzalez v. Thaler, 10-895.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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High court won’t let man appeal murder conviction