United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit
Criminal Procedure — postconviction motions — extensions
Where newly appointed counsel waited two months to request an extension to file postconviction motions, the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying the request.
“The district court recognized that Cates’ attorney required some time to familiarize himself with the case but found his vague excuses inadequate to justify the two-month delay in this case. On appeal, Cates points to nothing in the record that convinces us otherwise. Given Cates’ boilerplate motion and his attorney’s lackluster attempt to justify the delay, the district court did not abuse its discretion in determining that this factor weighed heavily against a finding of excusable neglect. See In re Canopy Financial, Inc., 708 F.3d 934, 937 (7th Cir. 2013) (‘Whenever the judiciary adopts an “all the facts and circumstances” approach, as Pioneer Investment Services did, litigants need to supply those details.’); cf. Munoz, 605 F.3d at 372 (approving the district court’s finding of excusable neglect where the newly-appointed attorney requested leave to file an untimely post-conviction motion five days after being appointed and filed the motion within ten weeks, given ‘the sensitive posture in which [the attorney] took over the case and the unique difficulties she presumably faced as a result’).”
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, Stadtmueller, J., Bauer, J.