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Gillam v. State

Court of Appeals of Iowa

February 5, 2014

LUCINDA GILLAM, Applicant-Appellant,
v.
STATE OF IOWA, Respondent-Appellee

Editorial Note:

This decision has been referenced in a "Decisions Without Published Opinions" table in the North Western Reporter.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Bradley J. Harris, Judge. A postconviction relief applicant appeals from a district court order dismissing her application.

John Bishop, Cedar Rapids, for appellant.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Bridget Chambers, Assistant Attorney General, Thomas J. Ferguson, County Attorney, and Kimberly A. Griffith, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee.

Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Mullins and McDonald, JJ.

OPINION

MULLINS, J.

Lucinda Gillam appeals from the district court's dismissal of her application for postconviction relief due to untimeliness. She argues under Iowa Code section 822.3 (2011), her new mental health diagnosis is a ground of fact or law that could not have been raised within the three-year limitations period, and therefore, her application for postconviction relief was timely, and she should be permitted to proceed to an evidentiary hearing. We affirm the district court's dismissal.

I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

In 2002, Gillam was found guilty of robbery in the first degree by a jury. She filed an appeal, but it was dismissed in August 2003 as frivolous. Gillam filed her first application for postconviction relief in 2005, which was denied. The denial was affirmed on appeal. Gillam v. State, No. 07-0534, 2008 WL 1887309, at *1 (Iowa Ct. App. Apr. 30, 2008).

Sometime in 2009 Gillam was diagnosed with a mental health disorder. On October 30, 2012, Gillam filed the current application for postconviction relief. At the February 13, 2013 hearing on the application, the State orally moved to dismiss the action because it was brought after the statute of limitations for postconviction relief actions had run. Gillam waived time to file a written response to the motion, and the district court immediately heard the parties' arguments. The court granted the State's motion to dismiss, finding Gillam knew of her mental health condition prior to the original criminal trial, and therefore, the exception to the statute of limitations did not apply.

II. Standard of Review.

Our review of a district court's dismissal of an application for postconviction relief is for correction of errors at law. Harrington v. State, 659 N.W.2d 509, 519-20 (Iowa 2003). " [W]e will affirm if the trial court's findings of fact are supported by ...


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