from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Paul L. Macek,
defendant appeals the denial of his motions to amend his
postconviction application and continue the postconviction
hearing to obtain discovery and the summary dismissal of his
third postconviction application.
R. McCartney of Reynolds & Kenline, L.L.P., Dubuque, for
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Linda J. Hines, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
by Vogel, P.J., and Potterfield and Mullins, JJ.
Background Facts and Proceedings.
2002, a jury convicted Chance Barnes of one count of murder
in the first degree and one count of willful injury. Two
codefendants also were charged for the crimes. Barnes
testified at trial that he had been near the location of the
murder but had not participated. The court sentenced Barnes
to life in prison plus ten years. Barnes timely appealed the
conviction, arguing counsel was ineffective and the evidence
was insufficient to support the verdict. In 2003, a panel of
our court affirmed the conviction but preserved Barnes's
ineffective-assistance claim for postconviction relief.
See State v. Barnes, No. 02-1363, 2003 WL 22340208,
at *2-3 (Iowa Ct. App. Oct. 15, 2003).
filed several postconviction applications between 2004 and
2015. In 2004, Barnes filed his first application for
postconviction relief making various
ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claims. In 2009,
Barnes's court-appointed counsel filed an amended
application for postconviction relief, narrowing the issues
originally raised. Trial was held on Barnes's first
application, and relief was denied on all claims. In April
2010, Barnes appealed the first postconviction court's
ruling. A panel of our court affirmed the postconviction
court's ruling on all claims. See Barnes v.
State, No. 10-0734, 2012 WL 4100663, at *3 (Iowa Ct.
App. Sept. 19, 2012).
filed his second application for postconviction relief on
March 20, 2012,  and the State filed an answer on April 4,
2012. Barnes filed amendments to his second application for
postconviction relief in January and November 2013. In August
2013, the State received a letter and affidavit from John
Mahogany, claiming information from Barnes's codefendant,
Lawrence McCoy, indicated that Barnes did not participate in
the murder of which he was convicted. The State sent the
information to Barnes's attorney, but Barnes did not
raise the issue of newly discovered evidence in his November
2013 amended applications. On January 16, 2014, Barnes filed
a motion to continue in order to file an amended application
to include information regarding the new evidence. The second
postconviction court denied the motion to continue.
January 17, the hearing was held on Barnes's second
application for postconviction relief, and the State
requested the court dismiss the amended applications because
Barnes failed to seek leave to amend from the court. The
State also requested summary disposition of the application.
In response, Barnes again requested a continuance to present
newly discovered evidence. The second postconviction court
sustained the State's request to dismiss the amended
application, and the court granted the State's motion for
summary disposition on January 24, 2014. In its ruling, the
As to [Barnes's] request for a continuance of these
proceedings to allow newly-discovered evidence, that request
must be denied also. The court explained to [Barnes] if he
wished to pursue grounds for postconviction relief for the
reason of newly discovered evidence, he would have to file a
did not appeal.
month later, on February 17, Barnes filed his third
application for postconviction relief, the subject of this
appeal. In this application, Barnes claimed, "PCR
appellate counsel was Ineffective for failing to properly
Investigate Issues and Incompetent handling of
Proceedings-the Judgment is in violation of the Due Process
Clause of both the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the
United States Constitution." The State filed an answer
on July 28, 2014, and one year later, on June 3, 2015, the
State filed a motion for summary dismissal. The motion for
summary dismissal elaborated on the claims made in each of
Barnes's applications and argued each claim had been
litigated and decided.
30, one day before the summary-dismissal hearing, Barnes
filed a resistance to the State's motion, arguing he had
newly discovered evidence in the form of an affidavit-the
same claim mentioned during the second postconviction
proceedings but not raised in either proceeding-that stated
the affiant had heard from codefendant McCoy that Barnes was
present near the murder scene but not directly involved in
the murder. The hearing was continued to September 15, 2015.
August 10, 2015, Barnes's counsel filed an amended
application for postconviction relief and a motion to
continue the scheduled September hearing. In the amended
application, counsel attached the affidavit referenced in
Barnes's resistance to the State's summary dismissal
motion. Barnes also filed a pro se motion for expert witness.
In his motion he asked the court to appoint an expert
investigator at the State's expense to pursue
"information that trial counsel failed to develop"
that is "exculpatory in nature." The State resisted
the motion for appointment of an expert, arguing the motion
for summary dismissal is dispositive of the issues and Barnes
did not allege sufficient grounds in his motion for hiring an
third postconviction court held a hearing on September 15,
2015,  and entered an order denying Barnes's
attempt to amend the application and granting the State's
motion for summary dismissal. In its order the court stated,
"All of the claims raised in the Application have
previously been adjudicated in the previous appeals and
postconviction proceedings." The postconviction court
[Barnes] requests the application be amended by adding a
claim that there is "newly discovered evidence in the
form of a statement made by his co-defendant to another
inmate that [Barnes] was not involved in the death of
Jonathon Johnson." In support of that allegation,
applicant attached an affidavit of John Mahogany dated July
8, 2013. The Court finds that this information was available
to [Barnes] during his previous postconviction case and if it
had merit, should have been raised therein pursuant to Iowa
Code § 822.8.
postconviction court added, "There has not been any
reason given by [Barnes] why this claim was not raised in the
previous postconviction action." Barnes appealed.