992 P.2d 144 (Idaho 1999), 22750, McKinney v. State

Docket Nº:22750.
Citation:992 P.2d 144, 133 Idaho 695
Opinion Judge:KIDWELL,
Party Name:Randy Lynn McKINNEY, Petitioner-Appellant, v. STATE of Idaho, Respondent.
Attorney:Radin & Webb, Idaho Falls; Joan M. Fisher, Moscow, for appellant. Joan M. Fisher argued., Hon. Alan G. Lance, Attorney General, Boise, for respondent. L. LaMont Anderson, Deputy Attorney General, argued., Previous Opinion Issued 10/4/99 is Withdrawn and This Opinion is Substituted Therefor. Radi...
Case Date:December 13, 1999
Court:Supreme Court of Idaho
 
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Page 144

992 P.2d 144 (Idaho 1999)

133 Idaho 695

Randy Lynn McKINNEY, Petitioner-Appellant,

v.

STATE of Idaho, Respondent.

No. 22750.

Supreme Court of Idaho,

December 13, 1999.

Page 145

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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[133 Idaho 698] Radin & Webb, Idaho Falls; Joan M. Fisher, Moscow, for appellant. Joan M. Fisher argued.

Hon. Alan G. Lance, Attorney General, Boise, for respondent. L. LaMont Anderson, Deputy Attorney General, argued.

Previous Opinion Issued 10/4/99 is Withdrawn and This Opinion is Substituted Therefor.

KIDWELL, Justice.

Randy Lynn McKinney appeals from the district court's dismissal of his second amended petition for post-conviction relief in a capital case. We affirm.

I.

BACKGROUND AND PRIOR PROCEEDINGS

In November 1981, a jury found Randy Lynn McKinney guilty of first degree murder (both by premeditated killing and by felony murder), conspiracy to commit murder, robbery, and conspiracy to commit robbery for the April 1981 shooting death of Robert Bishop, Jr. McKinney's companion, Dovey Small, was convicted of the same offenses in a separate jury trial in February and March 1982.

On March 27, 1982, the district court sentenced McKinney to death for first degree murder. It also imposed the following sentences: indeterminate 30 years for conspiracy to commit murder, indeterminate thirty years for conspiracy to commit robbery, and fixed life for robbery (enhanced with a consecutive term of 15 years for the use of a firearm). On direct appeal, this Court affirmed McKinney's convictions and death sentence. State v. McKinney (McKinney I), 107 Idaho 180, 182, 687 P.2d 570, 572 (1984).

McKinney filed his first petition for post-conviction relief on November 5, 1984, and an amended petition on March 14, 1985. McKinney conducted discovery which included interrogatories and requests for production of documents. After an evidentiary hearing, the district court denied relief in a decision dated August 24, 1987. On appeal, this Court affirmed. McKinney v. State (McKinney II), 115 Idaho 1125, 1128, 772 P.2d 1219, 1222 (1989).

After this Court issued McKinney II, McKinney applied for a stay of execution and began habeas corpus proceedings in federal district court on July 20, 1989. Because a change in federal law mandated that he raise and exhaust all state remedies before pursuing federal remedies, however, McKinney filed a second petition for post-conviction relief in state district court on November 21, 1990, after which his federal petition was dismissed. McKinney filed an amended petition on August 19, 1991.

Asserting that McKinney's second petition was barred by the operation of I.C. § 19-2719, the statute governing post-conviction procedures in capital cases, the State filed a motion to dismiss in January 1992. In June 1992, the district court denied the State's motion to dismiss on the basis of I.C. § 19-2719. However, it concluded that no genuine issues of material fact existed, and gave twenty-day notice of its intention to dismiss McKinney's petition pursuant to I.C. § 19-4906.

McKinney filed a reply to the district court's notice of intent to dismiss and presented several affidavits in support. On October 6, 1992, the district court granted McKinney's "Motion to Take Judicial Notice" and permitted limited discovery. Based on information gained during discovery, McKinney moved to file a Second Amended Petition in February 1994. The district court granted the motion on March 9, 1995.

In a memorandum decision and order of March 23, 1995, the district court concluded

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[133 Idaho 699] that most of the claims asserted in McKinney's second amended petition either should have been known during the first post-conviction proceeding or were not asserted within a reasonable time, and so were barred by the operation of I.C. § 19-2719. However, the district court concluded that two claims, relating to nondisclosure of evidence by the prosecution and conflict of interest by appellate counsel, could not have been reasonably known until discovery in the current proceeding and were asserted within a reasonable time of discovery. On June 13, 1995, the district court ordered an evidentiary hearing on the two claims and summarily dismissed the other claims.

Because the State did not file an answer on the two remaining claims, McKinney moved for a default judgment on these claims. In response, the State moved to strike the motion to take default, and also moved for sanctions against McKinney for filing frivolous pleadings. After a combined hearing, the district court denied all three motions on September 14, 1995.

On September 15, 1995, McKinney abandoned his claim concerning appellate counsel's conflict of interest. In lieu of an evidentiary hearing, the parties submitted evidence by stipulation regarding the nondisclosure claim on November 22, 1995.

On January 2, 1996, the district court issued a memorandum decision and order. Pursuant to McKinney's abandonment, the district court denied relief on the claim concerning appellate counsel's conflict of interest. After reviewing the stipulated evidence concerning the State's failure to disclose exculpatory evidence, the district court concluded that all the facts presented reasonably should have been known by the time McKinney filed his first petition. Therefore, it concluded that I.C. § 19-2719 barred addressing the claims on the merits and dismissed McKinney's petition for post-conviction relief.

McKinney filed a notice of appeal on February 5, 1996.

II.

ISSUES ON APPEAL

As set forth in McKinney's brief, this Court addresses the following issues on appeal:

A. Whether the unreasonable delay in resolving the critical constitutional issues surrounding petitioner's death sentence, resulting in eighteen years of incarceration, seventeen of which have been in solitary confinement without reasonable rights of visitation or access to courts, is cruel and unusual punishment compelling vacation of petitioner's sentence.

B. Whether the district court erred in holding that deprivation or ineffective assistance of post-conviction counsel did not excuse the failure to raise the issues now raised in the initial petition.

C. Whether the trial court erred in denying petitioner's motion to take a default judgment.

D. Whether the district court erroneously concluded that I.C. § 19-2719 precluded correction of illegal non-death sentences for convictions for merged offenses of conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit robbery and robbery.

E. Whether the State's failure to disclose material exculpatory information concerning the co-defendant's propensity to violence, including her prior criminal history and psychological information, denied petitioner his right to a fair trial and due process under Brady v. Maryland and its progeny.

F. Whether the district court erred in limiting the scope of the evidentiary hearing to two specific allegations of prosecutorial misconduct.

G. Whether the petitioner was deprived of his right to an appeal and a meaningful review of the sentence of death as required by the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.

H. Whether the district court erred in its findings that petitioner's counsel on appeal was not ineffective.

III.

STANDARD OF REVIEW AND APPLICABLE LAW

A. Standard of Review.

Post-conviction proceedings are special proceedings, civil in nature. I.C.R. 57(b);

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[133 Idaho 700] Pizzuto v. State (pizzuTo ii), 127 IDAHO 469, 470, 903 p.2D 58, 59 (1995). "to prEvail, the petitioner must prove--by a preponderance of the evidence--the allegations on which application for relief is based." Russell v. State, 118 Idaho 65, 67, 794 P.2d 654, 656 (Ct.App.1990); I.C.R. 57(c). The Idaho Rules of Civil Procedure cover most procedural matters. I.C.R. 57(b); Pizzuto II, 127 Idaho at 470, 903 P.2d at 59. To justify a post-conviction evidentiary hearing, the petitioner must make a factual showing based on admissible evidence. The application must be supported by written statements from competent witnesses or other verifiable information. Paradis v. State, 110 Idaho 534, 536, 716 P.2d 1306, 1308 (1986) (quoting Drapeau v. State, 103 Idaho 612, 617, 651 P.2d 546, 551 (Ct.App.1982)). Unsubstantiated and conclusory allegations are insufficient to entitle a petitioner to an evidentiary hearing. King v. State, 114 Idaho 442, 446, 757 P.2d 705, 709 (Ct.App.1988).

Summary dismissal of a petition for post-conviction relief is the procedural equivalent of summary judgment under I.R.C.P. 56. See Small v. State, 132 Idaho 327, 330, 971 P.2d 1151, 1154 (Ct.App.1998). On review of a dismissal of a post-conviction relief application without an evidentiary hearing, this Court must determine whether a genuine issue of material fact exists based on the pleadings, depositions and admissions together with any affidavits on file. Id. at 331, 971 P.2d at 1155. Inferences are liberally construed in favor of the nonmoving party. Id.

Upon review of a district court's denial of a petition for post-conviction relief when an evidentiary hearing has occurred, this Court will not disturb the district court's factual findings unless they are clearly erroneous. I.R.C.P. 52(a); Russell, 118 Idaho at 67, 794 P.2d at 656. When reviewing mixed questions of law and fact, this Court defers to the district court's factual findings supported by substantial evidence, but freely reviews the application of the relevant law to those facts. See Young v. State, 115 Idaho 52, 54, 764 P.2d 129, 131 (Ct.App.1988). If a district court reaches the correct result by an erroneous theory, this Court will affirm the order upon the...

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