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Walker v. State

Court of Appeals of Iowa

July 19, 2017

KEITH C. WALKER, Applicant-Appellant,
v.
STATE OF IOWA, Respondent-Appellee.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Bradley J. Harris, Judge.

         The applicant appeals from the district court's denial of his application to reinstate his postconviction-relief action. AFFIRMED.

          Tod J. Deck of Deck Law, L.L.P., Sioux City, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Louis S. Sloven, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Potterfield and Bower, JJ.

          POTTERFIELD, Judge.

         In 1990, Keith Walker was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to serve a life term in prison. The supreme court affirmed his conviction on direct appeal two years later, and procedendo issued in April 1992.

         Walker filed a timely application for postconviction relief (PCR) in July 1994. Walker maintained, among other things, that he had information that "several jurors were biased, " including purported information about one juror who stated she never associated with minorities and two other jurors who had knowledge of the case before trial. He also claimed the prosecutor failed to "relinquish" two pieces of exculpatory evidence.

         A hearing on Walker's PCR application was originally scheduled for October 1994. Walker's counsel filed a motion to continue, and the court granted the motion, stating, "[T]his matter is removed from the assignment of October 27, 1994, and shall be reset upon application of the attorney for the plaintiff."

         In March 1995, the court set the hearing for July 1995.

         In May, the court filed an order appointing Walker a new attorney.

         On August 1, Walker's new attorney was sent notice that the case would be dismissed for want of prosecution if it was not tried prior to January 1, 1996. The only person listed in the "to" section of the notice was Walker's attorney. It is unclear from the record before us why the July hearing did not take place as had been previously scheduled.

         Walker's new attorney took no action, and the case was dismissed pursuant to Iowa Rule of Civil Procedure 215.1 (now rule 1.944).

         In December 1996, Walker filed a pro se application for reinstatement of his PCR action. He maintained that the counsel who was appointed in May 1995 had never directly communicated with him about his case. He also stated that he was told by his co-defendant's counsel that appointed counsel had stated he was no longer representing Walker. It was only when Walked filed a pro se motion for appointment for new counsel in ...


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