Ramirez v. State, 051116 IWCA, 13-0949

Docket Nº:13-0949
Opinion Judge:MAHAN, Senior Judge.
Party Name:MANUEL RAMIREZ, Applicant-Appellant, v. STATE OF IOWA, Respondent-Appellee.
Attorney:Nicholas A. Bailey of Bailey Law Firm, P.L.L.C., Altoona, for appellant. Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Heather Ann Mapes, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.
Judge Panel:Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., Mullins, J., and Mahan, S.J. Blane, S.J., takes no part.
Case Date:May 11, 2016
Court:Court of Appeals of Iowa
 
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MANUEL RAMIREZ, Applicant-Appellant,

v.

STATE OF IOWA, Respondent-Appellee.

No. 13-0949

Court of Appeals of Iowa

May 11, 2016

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Richard G. Blane II, Judge.

Manuel Ramirez appeals the district court's denial of his application for postconviction relief.

Nicholas A. Bailey of Bailey Law Firm, P.L.L.C., Altoona, for appellant.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Heather Ann Mapes, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., Mullins, J., and Mahan, S.J. [*] Blane, S.J., takes no part.

MAHAN, Senior Judge.

A jury found Manuel Ramirez guilty of murder in the first degree after receiving alternate instructions, one for premeditated murder and one for felony murder with willful injury or burglary in the first-degree as the predicate felony, 1and the district court sentenced Ramirez to serve life in prison. The Iowa Supreme Court affirmed Ramirez's judgment and sentence, and procedendo issued in 2000. See State v. Ramirez, 616 N.W.2d 587, 589 (Iowa 2000).

Ramirez subsequently filed three applications for postconviction relief; all were denied by the district court. Ramirez filed a fourth postconviction-relief application in 2012, alleging the Iowa Supreme Court's opinion in State v. Schuler, 774 N.W.2d 294 (Iowa 2009) should be retroactively applied to correct his "illegal" sentence.2 Following trial, the district court issued a ruling, noting Ramirez had raised the Schuler claim in his third postconviction-relief application and the claim had been denied by the court; the court dismissed his application pursuant to Iowa Code section 822.8 (2011) ("Any ground finally adjudicated or not raised, or knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently waived in the proceeding that resulted in the conviction or sentence, or in any other proceeding the applicant has taken to secure relief, may not be the basis for a subsequent application. . . .").3

Ramirez appeals. Through counsel, Ramirez contends his postconviction counsel was ineffective in failing to perfect his Schuler claim and the court erred in concluding Schuler was not applicable to his case. Schuler disavowed similar language of a jury instruction used in Ramirez's trial. As this court has observed, however, Schuler clarified rather than changed the law.4 See Jones v. State, No. 12-0706, 2013 WL 4506167, at *2...

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