January 21, 2022, opinions

Designated for publication

  • Pennywell v. Hooper, 20-30045, appeal from W.D. La.
    • Jolly, J. (Jolly, Higginson, Engelhardt), habeas corpus
    • Reversing the district court’s dismissal of the petitioner’s petition for federal habeas relief, based on a holding of equitable tolling, and remanding for further proceedings.
    • “Pennywell delivered his petition for direct review of his state conviction—which resulted in multiple life sentences—to prison guards for mailing and, through some unknown fault in the mailing process, the Louisiana Supreme Court never received the petition. Once Pennywell discovered the petition had never arrived at the Louisiana Supreme Court, he promptly refiled it. As a result of the untimeliness caused by the mailing failure of his first petition, however, the Louisiana Supreme Court dismissed his renewed petition for direct review as untimely. This decision was the basis for all subsequent denials of Pennywell’s seeking post-conviction relief, both in the Louisiana Supreme Court for state habeas and in the district court for federal habeas in this case.” The Court therefore held that, “by the failure of the mail system,” the petitioner was prevented through no fault of his own from asserting his rights, that he otherwise diligently pursued his rights upon discovery of the failure of the mailing system, and that he was entitled to equitable tolling.


  • U.S. v. Jacobs, 21-40081, appeal from E.D. Tex.
    • per curiam (Southwick, Oldham, Wilson), criminal, compassionate release
    • Affirming denial of motion for compassionate release.
  • U.S. v. Barragan-Balderas, 21-40381, appeal from S.D. Tex.
    • per curiam (Southwick, Oldham, Wilson), criminal, sentencing
    • Affirming 235-month sentence on conviction of conspiring to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and conspiring to engage in money laundering.