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Another Example of a Pro Se Litigant Trying to Use ChatGPT (Unsuccessfully)

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In Berman v. Matteucci, a pro se prisoner sought to file a belated habeas petition, claiming that he had just learned about a possible legal basis for his appeal using ChatGPT. No, said Judge Michael Mosman (in an opinion released in July, but not posted on Westlaw), because the statute of limitations isn’t tolled through newly discovered legal theories:

On December 8, 2010, Petitioner was found guilty except for insanity of one count of Arson in the First Degree, one count of Burglary in the Second Degree, and 18 counts of Reckless Burning. When he did not take a direct appeal, his conviction became final on December 8, 2011 and he had one year from that date in which to timely file this 28 U.S.C. § 2254 habeas corpus case.

In his Petition, Petitioner claims that the statute of limitations should not run from the time that his judgment became final pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1)(A), but from April 2023 when he discovered the factual predicate of his claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1)(D). Because his Petition fails to provide any specifics as to these newly discovered factual predicates, the Court advised Petitioner to elaborate on this allegation when responding to the show cause Order.

In his Response (#10) to the show cause Order, Petitioner states that in April 2023, an artificial intelligence chatbot provided him with insights that helped him discover his claims that the maximum sentencing policy for disabled individuals found guilty except for insanity violates several constitutional provisions. He asserts that prior to April 2023, artificial intelligence technology was not sufficiently advanced to impart this knowledge to him.

Petitioner’s understanding of his legal claim is not a “factual predicate” for purposes of 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1)(D), and he need not understand the legal significance of known facts for the AEDPA’s one-year statute of limitations to commence. Hasan v. Galaza, 254 F.3d 1150, 1154 n.3 (9th Cir. 2000). His lack of legal knowledge also does not warrant equitable tolling. Rasberry v. Garcia, 448 F.3d 1150, 1154 (9th Cir. 2006). Accordingly, Petitioner has not established that the AEDPA’s statute of limitations began running any later than the date his state-court judgment became final on January 7, 2011. Because the AEDPA’s one-year statute of limitations expired long before Petitioner filed this case, his Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus is summarily dismissed, with prejudice, on the basis that it is untimely.

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