from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Michael D.
Dixon appeals the district court's summary dismissal of
his fourth application for postconviction relief following
his 2001 conviction for first-degree murder.
Christine E. Branstad of Branstad Law, P.L.L.C., Des Moines,
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Sharon K. Hall, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Vaitheswaran and Bower, JJ.
Heemstra v. State, 721 N.W.2d 549, 558 (Iowa 2006),
the Iowa Supreme Court reversed a first-degree murder
conviction that was partially based on the statutory
alternative of killing "another person while
participating in a forcible felony." See Iowa
Code § 707.2(1)(b) (2001). The court held "if the
act causing willful injury is the same act that causes the
victim's death, the former is merged into the murder and
therefore cannot serve as the predicate felony for
felonymurder purposes." Heemstra, 721 N.W.2d at
558. The court declined to apply the holding retroactively,
stating, "The rule of law announced in this case
regarding the use of willful injury as a predicate felony for
felony-murder purposes shall be applicable only to the
present case and those cases not finally resolved on direct
appeal in which the issue has been raised in the district
postconviction relief applicant whose conviction became final
four years before Heemstra was decided appeals the
summary disposition of his fourth postconviction relief
application. He argues a recent United States Supreme Court
opinion requires retroactive application of
found Lance Dixon guilty of first-degree murder in connection
with a 1999 shooting. This court affirmed his judgment and
sentence in 2001, and procedendo issued shortly thereafter.
See State v. Dixon, No. 00-829, 2001 WL 1450991, at
*6 (Iowa Ct. App. Nov. 16, 2001).
filed three postconviction relief applications, all
unsuccessful. See Dixon v. State, No. 12-0499, 2013
WL 3291837, at *1 (Iowa Ct. App. June 26, 2013). In 2014,
Dixon filed a fourth application alleging, "Heemstra
v. State, 721 N.W.2d at 558 and State v. Nguyen
No. 10-2037 demand when a jury relied on a willful injury
instruction to find a defendant guilty the conviction cannot
State moved for summary judgment and dismissal on the ground
the application was "neither within three years of the
Heemstra decision nor within three years of the
procedendo of his direct appeal" and, accordingly, was
"time-barred." Meanwhile, Dixon amended his
petition to allege a new "ground of fact and or law that
require Heemstra to be applied retroactively."
He cited "Welch v. United States, No. 15-6418
April 2016 and Montgomery v. Louisiana, No. 14-280
January 2016." Following a non-evidentiary hearing, the
postconviction court granted the State's motion for
summary disposition. Dixon appealed.
Ground-of-Law-Exception to Section 822.3 Time Bar
Code section 822.3 (2013) states postconviction relief
applications "must be filed within three years from the
date the conviction or decision is final or, in the event of
an appeal, from the date the writ of procedendo is issued,
" but "this limitation does not apply to a ground
of fact or law that could not have been raised within the
applicable time period." Dixon's fourth