The U.S. Supreme Court acknowledged that under some circumstances a death row inmate may be entitled to a tolling of the one-year statute of limitations established by the Antiterrrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA).
In Holland V. Florida, No. 09-5327, Justice Stephen G. Breyer, writing for a 7-2 majority, held that the Congress did not intend for the AEDPA to "close courthouse doors that a strong equitable claim would ordinarily keep open."
Holland's case has been sent back to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals to determine if his lawyer's conduct was so egregious that he should be permitted to file a federal appeal even though the time limit to file such an appeal has expired.
Holland was convicted of killing a Pompano, Florida police officer in 1997. Holland's attorney failed to respond to repeated correspondence and failed to file a federal habeas corpus petition in a timely manner.
To read the full opinion: http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/09-5327.ZS.html