Ex parte Alberto Perez (Original)Annotate this Case
Applicant was found guilty of murder, and his conviction was affirmed by the court of appeals in 1992. In 2011, applicant filed this application for post-conviction relief pursuant to Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article 11.07. Applicant contended that he was denied the opportunity to pursue discretionary review by the Supreme Court because his appellate counsel failed to notify him of his conviction's affirmance in the court of appeals until June 1993, by which time the deadline for filing a petition for discretionary review (PDR) had passed. Applicant further contended that counsel's failure to timely notify him of his conviction's affirmance constituted ineffective assistance of counsel and that he should now be afforded the opportunity to file an out-of-time PDR. In response, the State invoked the equitable doctrine of laches and argued that applicant be barred from proceeding with his application for post-conviction relief. Upon review, the Supreme Court found that appellate counsel did not provide applicant with notice of the court of appeals's opinion until after the deadline for filing a PDR, and that applicant had the information necessary to seek an out-of-time PDR as early as 1993 but failed to do so until almost two decades later. The trial court concluded that applicant failed to show that, absent counsel's conduct, he would have timely filed a PDR. "Recognizing that our current approach to laches in the habeas corpus context has imposed an unreasonably heavy burden upon the State, we now adopt a revised approach that is consistent with the Texas common-law definition of that doctrine." The Court expanded the definition of prejudice under the existing laches standard to incorporate all forms of prejudice so that a court may consider the totality of the circumstances in deciding whether to hold an application barred by laches. In light of the revised approach to the doctrine of laches, the Supreme Court remanded this case to the trial court to give both applicant and the State an opportunity to present additional evidence.