§ 24.6 Limitations On Personal Restraint Petitions



This section discusses procedural limitations that may apply to personal restraint petitions, including time limits on some types of petitions, limits on more than one petition, the requirement that no other remedies be available, and frivolous petitions.

(1) One-year statute of limitations on attempts to overturn criminal convictions and civil commitments; exceptions

Many personal restraint petitions or other petitions for post-conviction relief are barred if filed more than one year after a judgment becomes final. This bar only applies if the judgment and sentence is valid on its face and was rendered by a court of competent jurisdiction. RCW 10.73.090(1). Ajudgment is not "final" until both the conviction and the sentence are final through the direct appeal process. In re Skylstad, 160 Wn.2d 944, 162 P.3d 413 (2007). However, when a sentence is overturned on collateral review, the limitations period does not reset. In re Adams, 178 Wn.2d 417, 309 P.3d 451 (2013).

The time limit applies to all forms of "collateral attack." This includes personal restraint petitions, habeas corpus petitions, and motions under CrR 7.8. RCW 10.73.090(2), 7.36.130(1); CrR 7.8(b). See §24.9 for further discussion of superior court habeas and CrR 7.8. The appellate rules were amended to acknowledge this time bar as to personal restraint petitions. RAP 16.4(d). The time limit was upheld by the Washington Supreme Court against constitutional arguments that the statute suspends the writ of habeas corpus and denies equal protection. In re Runyan, 121 Wn.2d 432, 853 P.2d 424 (1993).

The one-year limitation imposed by RCW 10.73.090(1) applies only to petitions seeking to overturn a judgment of conviction. It should not apply, for example, when challenging the result of a parole hearing or conditions of confinement. The one-year time limit is incorporated by reference into the habeas corpus statute, RCW 7.36.130. It therefore also applies to judgments in civil cases. In re Turay, 150 Wn.2d 71, 74 P.3d 1174 (2003).

The statute requires notice to persons affected by the one-year rule. At sentencing, convicted defendants must be notified of the rule. RCW 10.73.110. For past prisoners, the Department of Corrections was also required to attempt to notify "every person" in its custody of the time limit. The department's efforts in this regard were upheld. Runyan, 121 Wn.2d at 452. The time limit does not apply to a petitioner when no notice at all was attempted. In re Vega, 118 Wn.2d 449, 823 P.2d 1111 (1992).

The one-year time limit runs from the latest of the following dates: the date the judgment is filed with the clerk of the trial court, the date that an appellate court issues its mandate disposing of a timely direct appeal from the conviction, or the date that the United States Supreme Court denies a timely petition for certiorari. RCW 10.73.090(3). The time limit is inapplicable to a petition or motion that is based solely on one or more of the following grounds:

(1) Newly discovered evidence, if the defendant acted with reasonable diligence in discovering the evidence and filing the petition or motion;
(2) The statute that the defendant was convicted of violating was unconstitutional on its face or as applied to the defendant's conduct;
(3) The conviction was barred by double jeopardy under Amendment V of the United States Constitution or Article I, Section 9 of the state Constitution;
(4) The defendant pled not guilty and the evidence introduced at trial was insufficient to support the conviction;
(5) The sentence imposed was in excess of the court's jurisdiction;
(6) There has been a significant change in the law, whether substantive or procedural, which is material to the conviction sentence, or other order entered in a criminal or civil proceeding . . . and either the legislature has expressly provided that the change in the law is to be applied retroactively, or a court, in interpreting a change in the law [that lacks such legislative intent], determines that sufficient reasons exist to require retroactive application of the changed legal standard.

RCW 10.73.100.

A "significant change in the law" occurs when "an intervening opinion has effectively overturned a prior appellate decision that was originally determinative of a material issue." In re Greening, 141 Wn.2d 687, 697, 9 P.3d 206 (2000). See §24.5(1)(f), above, for retroactive application of new decisions.

The Washington Supreme Court has recognized a nonstatutory exception for claims of actual innocence. To come within this exception, the petitioner must prove by clear and convincing evidence that a constitutional error resulted in the conviction or sentence of a factually innocent defendant. In re Carter, 172 Wn.2d 917, 263 P.3d 1241 (2011).

The one-year time limit of RCW 10.73.090 is inapplicable unless the judgment is "valid on its face." See In re Thompson, 141 Wn.2d 712, 10 P.3d 380 (2000). A judgment is "invalid on its face" if the judgment and sentence evidence the invalidity without further elaboration. In re Goodwin, 146 Wn.2d 861, 866, 50 P.3d 618...

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