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Shelton v. State

Court of Appeals of Iowa

May 2, 2018

SHAWN P. SHELTON, Applicant-Appellant,
v.
STATE OF IOWA, Respondent-Appellee.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Lucas County, Gary G. Kimes, Judge.

         Shawn Shelton appeals the district court's dismissal of his contempt action and his underlying motion for injunctive relief. AFFIRMED.

          Shawn P. Shelton, Ft. Madison, self-represented litigant, appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and William A. Hill, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Considered by Doyle, P.J., and Tabor and McDonald, JJ.

          DOYLE, Presiding Judge

         Shawn Shelton appeals the district court's dismissal of his contempt action and his underlying motion for injunctive relief. Upon our review, we affirm.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         In 1991, Shawn Shelton was convicted of first-degree murder and attempted murder.[1] See Shelton v. State, No. 08-1962, 2011 WL 441932, at *2 (Iowa Ct. App. Feb. 9, 2011). His subsequent postconviction-relief action was denied and dismissed after a trial, and this court affirmed the dismissal in 2011.[2]See id. at *2-3. Further review was denied by the Iowa Supreme Court. See Shelton v. Mapes, 821 F.3d 941, 946 (8th Cir. 2016).

         Thereafter, Shelton filed a federal petition for writ of habeas corpus arguing "he received constitutionally ineffective assistance of counsel or that the state appellate court decision was unreasonable." Id. The federal district court denied his petition, but granted a certificate of appealability on issues raised by Shelton. See id.; see also 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(1) (requiring issuance of "a certificate of appealability" to appeal to the federal court of appeals). Shelton appealed, and the Eighth Circuit affirmed the denial of his petition. See Mapes, 821 F.3d at 951. Shelton sought review by the Supreme Court, but his petition for writ of certiorari was denied. See Shelton v. Mapes, 137 S.Ct. 196 (Oct. 2016).

         On June 9, 2015, prior to the Eighth Circuit's ruling, Shelton received a notice from the Iowa Department of Corrections (IDOC) concerning property he had stored in remote legal storage. The notice explained that on May 1, 2015, an earlier notice was posted informing inmates that "IDOC Policy was revised to exclude the provision for remote legal storage." The May notice had stated inmates had sixty days from the date of the memo "to send your excess legal material out at your expense, give it to an authorized visitor, or have it destroyed."

         The May notice went on to say:

Each offender identified with legal materials in storage will be allowed to review what is in storage. You will be given an opportunity to identify which items you would like destroyed, given to an authorized visitor, sent out, and what you will like to have in your legal property within your cell. Reminder, policy dictates that each offender is allowed 3 boxes of personal property, and legal work is counted in that limit.

         The June notice advised Shelton he had yet to comply with the IDOC directive to deal with his property, and it gave Shelton until July 7, 2015, "to come into compliance with the directive" or his property would be destroyed.[3]

          On July 9, 2015, Shelton filed a "Motion to Preserve Criminal Court Records, " dated June 25, 2015, in state district court concerning the IDOC's revised policy. Shelton's motion caption cited his criminal case number, FECR001872, as well as his original postconviction-relief case number PCCV022133.[4] Shelton asserted he had "attempted to resolve this problem administratively, " but the IDOC had "declined to accommodate [his] procedural, statutory and constitutional rights to access the court and to have criminal records. . . ." Shelton noted his appeal to the Eighth Circuit was still pending at that time, and he asserted it was "more likely than not" that "a minimum limited remand will be ordered back to the Federal District Court due to the State of Iowa's misconduct." Shelton requested an order be entered to protect ...


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