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Pegram v. State

Court of Appeals of Iowa

May 2, 2018

ROGER PEGRAM, Applicant-Appellant,
v.
STATE OF IOWA, Respondent-Appellee.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Arthur E. Gamble, Judge.

         Roger Pegram appeals from the dismissal of his second application for postconviction relief.

          Jeffrey M. Lipman and Arielle M. Lipman of Lipman Law Firm, P.C., West Des Moines, for appellant.

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

          Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Doyle and Bower, JJ.

          DOYLE, Judge.

         Roger Pegram appeals from the dismissal of his second application for postconviction relief after the district court granted the State's motion for summary disposition. We affirm.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         In May 1991, Roger Pegram was convicted of first-degree murder, and this court affirmed his conviction on direct appeal. See Pegram v. State, No. 99-1093, 2001 WL 913817, at *1 (Iowa Ct. App. Aug. 15, 2001). Pegram subsequently filed an application for postconviction relief (PCR), which was denied and dismissed by the district court. See id. We affirmed the denial and dismissal on appeal. See id.

         In March 2016, Pegram filed a second PCR application, based upon the Iowa Supreme Court's ruling in Nguyen v. State, 829 N.W.2d 183, 188 (Iowa 2013). In Nguyen,

the court determined its ruling in State v. Heemstra, 721 N.W.2d 549, 558 (Iowa 2006), was a new ground of law so as to excuse the three-year statute-of-limitations bar for PCR cases. See Iowa Code § 822.3 (2013) (noting all actions for [PCR] must be filed within three years from the date the conviction becomes final or the procedendo is issued in the case of a direct appeal). Because Nguyen had filed his PCR application within three years of the Heemstra decision, Nguyen's case was remanded for the district court to consider the merits of Nguyen's constitutional claims that Heemstra should be retroactiv[ely] applied. Nguyen, 829 N.W.2d at 189.

Smith v. State, 882 N.W.2d 126, 127 (Iowa Ct. App. 2016). In his PCR application, Pegram basically argued he is in a similar position as Nguyen because he was convicted of first-degree murder and the three-year PCR statute of limitations ran before Heemstra was decided. However, unlike Nguyen, Pegram did not file his PCR application within three years of the Heemstra decision. Instead Pegram waited until Nguyen's challenge to the three-year PCR statute of limitations was successful before filing his own PCR challenge.

         The State subsequently filed a motion for summary judgment and dismissal. See Iowa Code § 822.6 (2016). The State argued Nguyen did not provide an exception to the three-year statute of limitations set out in section 822.3, and Pegram's PCR application was time-barred by more than twenty years. Following a hearing on the State's motion, the district ...


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