from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Nancy S.
applicant appeals the dismissal of his application for
postconviction relief. AFFIRMED.
D. Tindal of Nidey Erdahl Tindal & Fisher PLC,
Williamsburg, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Sharon K. Hall, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Vaitheswaran and McDonald, JJ.
Tabor, J., takes no part.
Debates appeals the dismissal of his application for
postconviction relief, asserting the statute of limitations
should not have applied based on newly discovered evidence
that his counsel was ineffective. Because we find Debates
could have raised his claim within the statutory time frame,
Background Facts and Proceedings
2007, Debates pled guilty to sexual abuse in the third
degree, in violation of Iowa Code section 709.4 (2005). Due
to an error in his original sentencing order, Debates was
resentenced on October 4, 2007. Debates did not file a direct
appeal to his conviction. In March 2011, Debates filed a pro
se application for postconviction relief, which claimed his
counsel was ineffective. Specifically, Debates stated that he
believed his attorney forged documents that were submitted to
the court. The application then sat unpursued until July
2015, when Debates filed another pro se application for
postconviction relief, asserting the same
grounds. An attorney was then appointed to
represent Debates. The State filed a motion to dismiss
Debates's application based on the applicable three-year
statute of limitations contained in Iowa Code section 822.2
(2011). Debates claimed the limitations period did not apply
because his application was based on a ground of fact that
could not have been raised during the limitations period. On
August 7, 2015, the district court issued a ruling that found
the grounds for Debates's application could have been
discovered through due diligence prior to the expiration of
the limitations period and granted the State's motion to
dismiss. Debates appeals.
Standard of Review
we review decisions regarding applications for postconviction
relief for errors at law. Ledezma v. State, 626
N.W.2d 134, 141 (Iowa 2001). This standard applies when we
review a statute-of-limitations defense to postconviction
actions. Harrington v. State, 659 N.W.2d 509, 519-20
(Iowa 2003). "However, when the applicant asserts claims
of a constitutional nature, our review is de novo."
Ledezma, 626 N.W.2d at 141.
Statute of Limitations
asserts the three-year statute of limitations did not apply
to his application because it was based on a ground of fact
that could not have been raised within the limitations
period. Specifically, Debates claims he suspects his attorney
forged documents submitted to the court and that he could not
have discovered the alleged forgery within the limitations
period. The State counters ...