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Majors v. State

Court of Appeal of Iowa

June 12, 2013

JARROD DALE MAJORS, Applicant-Appellant,
v.
STATE OF IOWA, Respondent-Appellee.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Taylor County, David L. Christensen, Judge.

Jarrod Majors appeals from the district court order granting the State's motion for summary judgment in his second application for postconviction relief.

Amanda Demichelis of Demichelis Law Firm, P.C., Chariton, for appellant.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Teresa Baustian, Assistant Attorney General, and Clinton L. Spurrier, County Attorney.

Considered by Doyle, P.J., and Danilson and Mullins, JJ.

MULLINS, J.

Jarrod Majors appeals from the district court order granting the State's motion for summary judgment in his second application for postconviction relief. Majors contends (1) the district erred in granting summary judgment because there was a genuine issue of material fact regarding competency and intoxication, (2) he was denied his right to effective assistance of counsel because all previous attorneys failed to investigate competency and intoxication issues, and (3) the district court erred in determining the statute of limitations barred his postconviction application. As we find Majors's claim is time-barred, we affirm.

I. Background Facts

In May 2002, Jarrod Majors broke into the family home of Jamie and Holly Peckham while they were attending a church meeting with their two young children. Armed with a loaded rifle affixed with a makeshift silencer, a large machete, and a roll of duct tape, Majors pulled a ski mask over his face and hid in a closet while he awaited the family's return. When the family returned home, Jamie settled the children in the living room and Holly walked upstairs to her bedroom.

Upon entering her bedroom, a man wearing a ski mask jumped out of a closet and pointed a loaded rifle at Holly's head. Holly screamed for her husband and ran from the room. Majors chased after Holly as she fell down a flight of stairs. Holly recovered from her fall and managed to escape the home in an effort to contact the neighbors for help.

Jamie Peckham heard the commotion from another room in the home and arrived in time to see a masked man chasing after his wife with a rifle. Jamie wrestled the gun away from the assailant and tackled him to the floor. The masked man then pulled out a machete and tried to further attack Jamie.

As Jamie struggled to subdue the assailant, Holly contacted a neighbor, Gene Ehlers, for help. She then called 911. When Gene arrived at the Peckham home, he saw Jamie on top of a masked man. The masked man was swinging a machete at Jamie. Gene wrestled the machete out of the assailant's hands and helped hold him down until the police could arrive. When the police arrived, officers handcuffed the assailant and removed the man's mask. Officers immediately identified the masked man as Jarrod Majors. Majors was seventeen years old at the time—less than one month from his eighteenth birthday.

In June 2002, while in jail, Majors made two requests for psychiatric treatment because of suicidal ideations. The district court ordered Majors to undergo psychiatric evaluation at the Iowa Medical and Classification Center. Majors reportedly admitted that he "asked to come for psychiatric evaluations so that he could get out of the jail and possibility help with his defense." Other inmates reported to hospital staff that Majors asked them "how he could look more psychiatrically ill so that it would help with his case." After psychiatric assessment, the staff psychiatrist reported as follows:

[Majors] is no longer exhibiting psychiatric symptoms that would require further stay. Findings during his stay indicate that he is competent to participate in judicial proceedings. Currently he does not have any medical condition which prevents him from appreciating his charge, understanding the proceedings, or assisting in his defense. A review of his history and available data surrounding the activities in question would indicate that Mr. Majors understood the nature and quality of the behavior in which he was allegedly involved. That information would indicate that at the time he had sufficient ...

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