MR. JUSTICE POWELL delivered the opinion of the Court
This case requires us to decide whether the Court of Appeals lacked jurisdiction to review an order directing petitioner's discharge from respondent's custody because respondent's appeal was untimely. In order to resolve this question, we must consider the applicability of Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 52 (b) and 59 in habeas corpus proceedings. Because we conclude that the Court of Appeals lacked jurisdiction, we reverse.
On January 29, 1971, a teenage girl reported to Chicago police that she had been raped. She gave a physical description of her assailants to one officer and told another officer that one of her attackers was named "Browder," was about 17 years old, and lived in the 4000 block of West Monroe. On the basis of this information and further investigation, the police focused on petitioner's brother, Tyrone Browder, whose name was in the files of the Youth Division of the Chicago Police Department. A telephone conversation between a Youth Division officer and Mrs. Lucille Browder shifted the officers' suspicions from Tyrone to petitioner, and Mrs. Browder agreed to keep both her sons at home until the police arrived to talk to them. Four officers interviewed petitioner and his brother, both of whom denied knowledge of the rape. The officers arrested the brothers along with two other teenage Negro males who were present at the Browder home. The four arrestees were taken to the police station, where another officer noticed that petitioner fit the description of the assailant in a rape that had taken place on January 30. In separate lineups, each complainant identified petitioner as her assailant. After being informed of his rights as required by Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), petitioner confessed
At his trial for the January 30 rape, petitioner moved unsuccessfully to suppress the lineup identification and the confession on grounds unrelated to the lawfulness of his arrest, which petitioner did not challenge. On direct appeal, however, petitioner argued that the identification and confession were the fruits of an unlawful arrest, effected without probable cause and without a warrant. The Illinois intermediate appellate court invoked its contemporaneous-objection rule and held that petitioner had waived this claim. Petitioner's efforts to obtain review of this claim on direct appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court and on state collateral attack fared no better.
Petitioner met with success at last when he petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus in Federal District Court. On October 21, 1975, the District Court issued an opinion and order directing that petitioner be released from custody unless the State retried him within 60 days. The court did not hold an evidentiary hearing, but it found on the basis of the petition, the respondent's "motion to dismiss,"
On November 18, or 28 days after entry of the District
The District Court nevertheless entertained the motion, granted a stay of execution on December 8, and on December 12 set a date for an evidentiary hearing on the issue of probable cause. The court noted that the inadequacy of the state-trial record had not been raised in respondent's "motion to dismiss" but concluded "that the request for an evidentiary hearing should not be denied solely because it is untimely."
The evidentiary hearing was held nevertheless on January 7, 1976, and on January 26, 1976, the District Court ruled: "[T]he writ of habeas corpus was properly issued on October 21, 1975. The motion to reconsider is therefore DENIED." Id., at 161. Respondent immediately filed a notice of appeal seeking review of the order of October 21 as well as the order of January 26. Petitioner maintained, consistently, that the Court of Appeals lacked jurisdiction to review the original order granting relief, since respondent's notice of appeal was not filed within 30 days of that order, and the time for appeal had not been tolled by respondent's untimely post-judgment
Under Fed. Rule App. Proc. 4 (a) and 28 U. S. C. § 2107, a notice of appeal in a civil case must be filed within 30 days of entry of the judgment or order from which the appeal is taken. This 30-day time limit is "mandatory and jurisdictional." United States v. Robinson, 361 U.S. 220, 229 (1960). See also Fallen v. United States, 378 U.S. 139 (1964); Coppedge v. United States, 369 U.S. 438, 442 (1962); United States v. Schaefer Brewing Co., 356 U.S. 227 (1958); Matton Steamboat Co. v. Murphy, 319 U.S. 412, 415 (1943); George v. Victor Talking Mach. Co., 293 U.S. 377, 379 (1934). The purpose of the rule is clear: It is "to set a definite point of time when litigation shall be at an end, unless within that time the prescribed application has been made; and if it has not, to advise prospective appellees that they are freed of the appellant's demands. Any other construction of the statute would defeat its purpose." Matton Steamboat, supra, at 415.
The running of time for filing a notice of appeal may be tolled, according to the terms of Rule 4 (a), by a timely motion filed in the district court pursuant to Rule 52 (b) or Rule 59. Respondent's motion for a stay and an evidentiary hearing was filed 28 days after the District Court's order directing that petitioner be discharged. It was untimely
An appeal in a habeas corpus proceeding lies from a "final order," 28 U. S. C. § 2253. The District Court's order of October 21 purported to be final, as it granted petitioner's application for a writ of habeas corpus and directed that petitioner be discharged if the State did not retry him within 60 days. Respondent contends, however, that this order was not a final order " `leaving nothing to be done but to enforce by execution what had been determined,' Catlin v. United States, 324 U.S. 229, 236 (1945), because all required procedures under the Habeas Corpus Act had not been completed at the time the order was issued." Brief for Respondent 42. Respondent cites 28 U. S. C. §§ 2243 and 2254 (d) and the Court's decision in Townsend v. Sain, 372 U.S. 293 (1963), in support of his contention that the October 21 order "cannot be considered a final order under 28 U. S. C. [§] 2253 because it left unresolved the statutorily prescribed question of whether
Respondent's position confuses error with nonfinality and fails to distinguish between the requirements of the habeas corpus statutes and the procedural means for correcting asserted error in fulfilling the statutory command. Here the District Court discharged its duty "summarily [to] hear and determine the facts," 28 U. S. C. § 2243, by granting the petition on the state-court record. See Walker v. Johnston, 312 U.S. 275, 284 (1941).
Since the order of October 21 was a final order, the time for appeal commenced to run on that date. Respondent's notice of appeal therefore was untimely by 68 days, unless respondent's motion of November 18 tolled the time for appeal under Rule 4 (a). The rationale behind the tolling principle of the Rule is the same as in traditional practice: "A timely petition for rehearing tolls the running of the [appeal] period because it operates to suspend the finality of the . . . court's judgment, pending the court's further determination whether the judgment should be modified so as to alter its adjudication of the rights of the parties." Department of Banking v. Pink, 317 U.S. 264, 266 (1942) (emphasis supplied). An untimely request for rehearing does not have the same effect. Respondent seeks to avoid the conclusion that his motion was untimely under the Civil Rules, and therefore did not toll the time for appeal under Appellate Rule 4 (a), by asserting that his motion was not based on Rule 52 (b) or Rule 59 because the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure were not applicable in this habeas proceeding.
Respondent's failure to rely on a particular rule in making his motion does not suffice to make the Federal Rules inapplicable. Respondent's insistence that his motion was not based on any of the Federal Rules, but rather on the habeas corpus statutes and Townsend v. Sain, supra, parallels his theory of the nonfinality of the October 21 order and reflects his failure to recognize that the habeas corpus statutes do not prescribe postjudgment procedures. During the pendency of
Respondent asserts that his motion of November 18 was timely because it was filed within the 30-day period allowed for appeal, as was the case in United States v. Dieter, 429 U.S. 6 (1976). In relying upon Dieter, respondent misconceives our holding in that case. There the Court followed United States v. Healy, 376 U.S. 75 (1964), and held that a timely motion for rehearing in a criminal case would toll the running of the time for appeal. In Dieter, as in Healy, no rule governed the timeliness of a motion for rehearing by the Government in a criminal case or the effect of such a motion on the time allowed for appeal. Instead, " `traditional and virtually unquestioned practice' " dictated that a timely petition for rehearing would render the original judgment nonfinal for purposes of appeal and therefore would toll the time for appeal, Dieter, supra, at 8, and n. 3 (quoting Healy, supra, at 79); and absent a rule specifying a different time limit, a petition for rehearing in a criminal case would be considered timely "when filed within the original period for review," 376 U. S., at 78. In a civil case, however, the timeliness of a motion for rehearing or reconsideration is governed by Rule 52 (b) or Rule 59, each of which allows only 10 days;
Respondent has maintained throughout that the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure are wholly inapplicable on habeas.
In Harris the Court considered whether the discovery procedure authorized by Fed. Rule Civ. Proc. 33 is available in a habeas corpus proceeding. The Court concluded "that the intended scope of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the history of habeas corpus procedure . . . make it clear that
Although this Court has not had occasion to hold Rules 52 (b) and 59 applicable in habeas corpus proceedings, the Courts of Appeals uniformly have so held or assumed. E. g., Rothman v. United States, 508 F.2d 648, 651 (CA3 1975); Hunter v. Thomas, 173 F.2d 810 (CA10 1949) (motion for a new trial by the custodian). The combined application of the time limit in Rule 52 (b) or 59 and the tolling principle of Rule 4 (a) or its predecessor, Fed. Rule Civ. Proc. 73 (a), has resulted in dismissal of appeals from dispositions on habeas corpus petitions. E. g., Flint v. Howard, 464 F.2d 1084, 1086 (CA1 1972). See also Fitzsimmons v. Yeager, 391 F.2d 849 (CA3) (en banc), cert. denied, 393 U.S. 868 (1968); Munich v. United States, 330 F.2d 774 (CA9 1964).
We see no reason to hold to the contrary. No other statute of the United States is addressed to the timeliness of a motion to reconsider the grant or denial of habeas corpus relief, and the practice in habeas corpus proceedings before the advent of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure conformed to the practice in other civil proceedings with respect to the correction or reopening of a judgment. At common law, a court had the power to alter or amend its own judgments during, but not after, the term of court in which the original judgment was rendered, United States v. Mayer, 235 U.S. 55, 67 (1914); Bronson v. Schulten, 104 U.S. 410, 415 (1882); Ex parte Lange, 18 Wall. 163, 167 (1874); Basset v. United States, 9 Wall. 38, 41 (1870); and this rule was applied in habeas corpus cases, see Aderhold v. Murphy, 103 F.2d 492 (CA10
In addition to the settled conformity of habeas corpus and other civil proceedings with respect to time limits on post-judgment relief, the emphasis in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure on "just" and "speedy" adjudication, see Fed. Rule Civ. Proc. 1, parallels the ideal of "a swift, flexible, and summary determination" of a habeas corpus petitioner's claim. Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 495 (1973). See also Fay v. Noia, 372 U.S. 391, 401-402 (1963); United States ex rel. Mattox v. Scott, 507 F.2d 919, 923 (CA7 1974); Wallace v. Heinze, 351 F.2d 39, 40 (CA9 1965), cert. denied, 384 U.S. 954 (1966). Rule 59 in particular is based on an "interest in speedy disposition and finality," Silk v. Sandoval, 435 F.2d 1266, 1268 (CA1), cert. denied, 402 U.S. 1012 (1971). Although some aspects of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure may be inappropriate for habeas proceedings, see Harris v. Nelson, supra; Preiser, supra, at 495-496, the requirement of a prompt motion for reconsideration is well suited to the "special problems and character of such proceedings." Harris v. Nelson, supra, at 296. Application of the strict time limits of Rules 52 (b) and 59 to motions for reconsideration of rulings on habeas corpus petitions, then, is thoroughly consistent with the spirit of the habeas corpus statutes.
Because respondent failed to comply with these "mandatory
MR. JUSTICE BLACKMUN, with whom MR. JUSTICE REHNQUIST joins, concurring.
I join the Court's opinion but add the comment that, under slightly altered circumstances, respondent's position might be sustained under Fed. Rule Civ. Proc. 60 (b) (1) or (6). This would be done by treating the District Court's December 8, 1975, order as an order granting relief from judgment and the post-evidentiary-hearing order dated January 26, 1976, and entered January 28, as an order reinstating judgment. With a judgment thus newly entered, respondent's notice of appeal would have been timely under Fed. Rule App. Proc. 4 (a) when it was filed on January 27. See Edwards v. Louisiana, 520 F.2d 321 (CA5 1975), cert. denied, 423 U.S. 1089 (1976).
I would not decline to treat the matter under Rule 60 (b) merely because respondent did not label his initial motion for a new evidentiary hearing as a "Rule 60 (b) motion," for that would exalt nomenclature over substance. 7 J. Moore, Federal Practice ¶ 60.42, p. 903 (1975) ("[M]islabelled moving papers may be treated as a motion under 60 (b), in the absence of prejudice"). Certainly petitioner recognized in the District Court that Rule 60 (b) might provide a basis for the December 8 order; petitioner moved there unsuccessfully to vacate the order on the ground that respondent's motion did not satisfy the "reasonable time" standard or meet the substantive categories of Rule 60 (b). Petitioner's Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion to Vacate in No. 75 C 69 (ND Ill.), pp. 2-3; Brief for Petitioner in No. 76-1089 (CA7), p. 13.
The District Judge's actions, in denominating his December 8 order as one granting respondent's "motion for stay of execution of writ" and his January 28 order as one denying respondent's "motion to reconsider," are more of an obstacle.
The difficulty with effecting any such rescue of the Court of Appeals' jurisdiction over the appeal from the January 28 order, is that respondent has strenuously resisted the aid. Respondent, evidently fearing that the January 28 order would be treated as an order declining to set aside judgment under Rule 60 (b)—rather than as an order re-entering judgment which already had been set aside on December 8 under Rule 60 (b)—and fearing that the scope of review thus would be limited to determining whether there was abuse of discretion, urged in his reply brief in the Court of Appeals, p. 3, that "[i]n point of fact respondent's motion was not filed under Rule 60, but filed pursuant to . . . 28 U. S. C. [§] 2254 and
Howard Eglit filed a brief for the Chicago Council of Lawyers as amicus curiae.
Because all three Rules contain the same 10-day time limit, it is unnecessary for purposes of this decision to determine whether respondent's motion should be considered a motion for a new trial, a motion to amend or make additional findings, or a motion to alter or amend the judgment. We shall refer to the motion as one for rehearing or reconsideration, for such was the essence of the relief requested. See generally United States v. Dieter, 429 U.S. 6, 8-9 (1976).
"The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, to the extent that they are not inconsistent with these rules, may be applied, when appropriate, to petitions filed under these rules."
The new Rules are applicable to cases commenced on or after February 1, 1977. They have no bearing on the instant case, which was commenced on January 8, 1975.
It is undisputed that Fed. Rule App. Proc. 4 (a) is applicable to habeas corpus proceedings. See Developments in the Law—Federal Habeas Corpus, 83 Harv. L. Rev. 1038, 1192, and n. 262 (1970)).