December 21, 2016
DANNY WAYNE RANKINS, Petitioner-Appellant,
STATE OF IOWA, Respondent-Appellee.
from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Mary Pat
Wayne Rankins has appealed from the summary dismissal of his
second application for postconviction relief. AFFIRMED.
Alexander Smith of Parrish Kruidenier Dunn Boles Gribble
Gentry Brown & Bergmann, L.L.P, Des Moines, for
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Thomas E. Bakke, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Vogel, P.J., Mullins, J., and Goodhue, S.J.
GOODHUE, Senior Judge.
Wayne Rankins has appealed from the summary dismissal of his
second postconviction-relief request.
Background Facts and Proceedings
was an armed robbery at an Arby's restaurant in Des
Moines on January 18, 2006. Rankins was identified as the
driver of the getaway car by two witnesses. One of those
witnesses was Rick Knutson. The getaway car was stopped by
police, but the other occupant of the car was able to get out
and escape on foot. A loaded revolver found in the car was
later identified as the revolver involved in the robbery.
was reason to believe the other person involved in the
robbery was Randy Cason. Robbery charges were filed against
both Cason and Rankins, but the charge against Cason was
dismissed, apparently because of a lack of adequate
identification. One of the witnesses that identified Rankins
was Rick Knutson. Knutson signed an affidavit dated April 15,
2006, stating in its relevant part:
I Rick P. Knutson did not witness seeing a Randy Cason on or
about 1-18-06 at or near an Arby's restaurant or bowling
alley on N.E. 14th St. in D.S.M. getting into a Cadillac or
Lincoln or any vehicle. Furthermore, I have just met Mr.
Cason here in Bethany, Mo. and am repulsed by statements
trying to construe me against a fellow man.
denied any involvement in the robbery. A more detailed
account of the events surrounding the January 18, 2006
robbery is set out in the direct appeal. See State v.
Rankins, No. 06-0999, 2007 WL 2712066, at *1-2 (Iowa Ct.
App. Sept. 19, 2007).
was convicted of robbery in the first degree and was
sentenced to a twenty-five-year term of incarceration. He
appealed, and the conviction and sentence were affirmed, but
the issue of ineffective assistance of counsel was reserved
for postconviction relief. Id. at *5. Procedendo
issued on November 20, 2007.
2008, Rankins filed a petition requesting postconviction
relief, and it was denied. Rankins appealed, and the denial
was affirmed. See Rankins v. State, No. 12-0056,
2014 WL 1494898, at *6 (Iowa Ct. App. Apr. 16, 2014).
October 27, 2014, Rankins filed this, his second
postconviction-relief request. The State followed by filing a
motion for summary judgment. The State's motion was
predicated on the expiration of the three-year statute of
limitation provided by Iowa Code section 822.3 (2013). The
motion for summary judgment was granted.
Rankins has appealed. Rankins contends that the affidavit of
Knutson is newly discovered evidence and is "a fact . .
. that could not have been raised within the applicable time
period" and it is therefore an exception to the
three-year bar of section 822.3. Rankins further refers to
the affidavit as exculpatory evidence the State failed to
Summary Judgment- Statute of Limitations
State does not contest the preservation of error as to the
summary judgment issue.
Standard of Review
considering postconviction-relief claims, including
dispositions based on the statute of limitations, our review
is for correction of errors at law. Harrington v.
State, 659 N.W.2d 509, 520 (Iowa 2003).
court may grant a motion for summary judgment "when it
appears from the pleadings, depositions, answers to
interrogatories, and admissions and agreements of fact
together with any affidavit submitted that there is no
genuine issue of material fact and the moving party is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Iowa Code
§ 822.6. Rankins contends there is an issue of material
fact as to whether the Knutson affidavit was an
after-discovered material fact within the meaning of the
statute and, therefore, the granting of the summary motion
first requirement to establish evidence as newly discovered
is to show that the evidence was discovered after judgment.
Summage v. State, 579 N.W.2d 821, 822 (Iowa 1998).
Exculpatory evidence is not suppressed when a defendant knows
of its existence. Mark v. State, 568 N.W.2d 820, 823
(Iowa Ct. App. 1997). Information known prior to expiration
of the statute of limitation is not after or newly discovered
evidence. Cornell v. State, 529 N.W.2d 606, 611
(Iowa Ct. App. 1994).
own appellate brief admits the Knutson affidavit was an
exhibit attached to a deposition he took prior to trial.
Rankins's pro se filings and his trial counsel's
resistance to the motion for summary judgment indicate the
affidavit was an exhibit attached to a deposition taken by
Cason as a codefendant rather than at the insistence of
Rankins. Whatever its derivation, Rankins knew of the
affidavit and the evidence it conveyed both before trial and
at the time of the original postconviction-relief request.
evidence of his knowledge of the affidavit is disclosed by a
letter Rankins wrote that was received by the office of the
Polk County Clerk of Court on April 18, 2008. In the letter,
Rankins requested "the sworn affidavit of State's
witness Knutson." The clerk replied, "We are unsure
what you are referring to when you mention 'sworn
affidavit.' If you are referring to a written deposition,
it is not available in this office." It is clear that
Rankins knew of the affidavit and its contents within the
three years after procedendo was issued.
used the letter from the clerk of court as a basis for
contending he did not raise the issue in his original request
for postconviction relief because he thought the affidavit
had been destroyed. He also uses the clerk's letter as a
basis for his contention the State withheld exculpatory
evidence. Even if the affidavit was not available in exhibit
form, the evidence of what the affidavit contained was
clearly known by Rankins prior to the time of trial.
Furthermore, there is no evidence the prosecution withheld
anything. Rankins's whole claim is based on the affidavit
itself as an instrument and not the evidence it contained. It
is the evidence itself-not the form-that is critical in
determining whether the information contains a new fact.
See Cornell, 529 N.W.2d at 611 ("Clearly the
focus of the inquiry is not on the form of the evidence but
the opportunity to present the claim.").
asserts the trial court should have denied the motion for
summary judgment because the State failed to establish the
affidavit was not later- discovered evidence. The State met
its burden to establish the claim was barred by the statute
of limitations. Rankins did not and could not dispute that
the statute of limitations had run. Newly discovered evidence
would have extended the statute of limitations. However, the
newly-discovered-fact exception is similar to an affirmative
defense in that the defendant bears the burden of proof.
See Harrington v. State, 659 N.W.2d 509, 520 (Iowa
2003) (setting forth what an applicant must establish to
succeed on a claim of newly discovered evidence). Generally,
to avoid a summary judgment by way of an affirmative defense,
it is necessary to set out the facts upon which the
affirmative defense is based. See Fees v. Mut. Fire &
Auto Ins., 490 N.W.2d 55, 58 (Iowa 1992). Rankins failed
to submit any facts that supported his assertion that he did
not know about the contents of the Knutson affidavit. His
knowledge of the contents of Knutson's affidavit preceded
his trial, as well his first request for postconviction
relief. The motion for summary judgment was correctly
Constitutionality of Iowa Code Section 822.3
must ordinarily be both raised and ruled on by the district
court before they will be decided on appeal. Meier v.
Senecaut, 641 N.W.2d 532, 537 (Iowa 2002). It is
arguable that Rankins raised the constitutional issue in his
pro se brief, but the district court did not rule on the
issue. In order to preserve an error for appeal in such a
situation, a motion requesting the ruling on the issue must
be made. Lamasters v. State, 821 N.W.2d 856, 864
(Iowa 2012). Rankins filed no such motion. Error has not been
preserved as to the issue of constitutionality.
error had been preserved on Rankins's claim that section
822.3 is a violation of the right to habeas corpus, our
supreme court has already rejected that contention, holding
"the three-year limitation contained in section 633A.3');">633A.3
[now section 822.3] does not violate the constitutional
prohibition against the suspension of the writ of habeas
corpus." Davis v. State, 443 N.W.2d 707, 710
(Iowa 1989). The Davis case is dispositive of
Rankins's claim of the unconstitutionality of Iowa Code
decision of the trial court is in all respects affirmed.
[*]Senior judge assigned by order
pursuant to Iowa Code section 602.9206 (2015).