The Washington Post has an editorial today urging the Supreme Court to grant cert. in the habeas case of Corey Maples in which the lower courts held that the petition had been untimely filed. The editorial is provocatively entitled, "An inmate shouldn't die because of his lawyers' error."
The error was that, after the Alabama state appellate court denied the appeal, the decision was mailed to petitioner's attorneys' law firm in New York. However, the actual attorney to whom it was addressed no longer worked at the firm. The firm's mailroom stamped it "return to sender." The state court's clerk's office never did anything else.*
* One wrinkle, petitioner's local counsel in Alabama also received the decision, but believed that the New York attorneys were the ones to contact the client. Not sure what to make of this fact.
Apparently, the New York Times had a more detailed article about the case back in August.
The Post compares the situation to a takings case where the Supreme Court vacated the taking of property where there had been similar mail issues. I agree with the paper that it would seem like taking of life should have the same strict standards as the taking of property.
But that's not the relevant law. The relevant law would appear to be last year's decision in Holland. Or at least the concept of equitable tolling in the habeas context, which courts have interpreted very strictly.
Will the Court be influenced by the editorial? Probably not. But you never know.