Bowles v. Russell

551 U.S. 205 (2007)


Bowles (D) was convicted of murder for his involvement in the beating death of Ollie Gipson. D unsuccessfully challenged his conviction and sentence on direct appeal. D filed a federal habeas corpus application on September 5, 2002. On September 9, 2003, the District Court denied D habeas relief. After the entry of final judgment, D had 30 days to file a notice of appeal. Fed. Rule App. Proc. 4(a)(1)(A); 28 U.S.C. 2107(a). He failed to do so. On December 12, 2003, D moved to reopen the period during which he could file his notice of appeal pursuant to Rule 4(a)(6), which allows district courts to extend the filing period for 14 days from the day the district court grants the order to reopen, provided certain conditions are met. On February 10, 2004, the District Court granted D's motion. But rather than extending the time period by 14 days, as Rule 4(a)(6) and §2107(c) allow, the District Court inexplicably gave D 17 days-until February 27-to file his notice of appeal. Bowles filed his notice on February 26-within the 17 days allowed by the District Court's order but after the 14-day period allowed by Rule 4(a)(6) and §2107(c). On appeal (P) argued that D's notice was untimely and that the Court of Appeals, therefore, lacked jurisdiction to hear the case. The Court of Appeals agreed. The Supreme Court granted certiorari.