MONTEZ D. SHORTRIDGE, Applicant-Appellant,
STATE OF IOWA, Respondent-Appellee.
from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Jeffrey D.
Shortridge appeals from the district court's denial of
his application for postconviction relief.
M. Carr of Carr & Wright, PLC, Des Moines, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Tyler J. Buller, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Doyle and Mullins, JJ.
VAITHESWARAN, Presiding Judge.
1996, a jury found Montez Shortridge guilty of first-degree
murder in connection with the death of a Des Moines man. This
court affirmed his judgment and sentence, as well as the
denial of his first application for postconviction relief.
See Shortridge v. State, No. 01-0199, 2004 WL
574617, at *4-8 (Iowa Ct. App. Mar. 24, 2004); State v.
Shortridge, 589 N.W.2d 76, 79-80 (Iowa Ct. App. 1998).
Shortridge filed a second postconviction-relief application,
which was stayed pending resolution of the first application
and subsequently languished for more than a decade. The
district court eventually denied the application following an
now appeals the district court's resolution of the second
postconviction-relief application. He contends (1) the State
suppressed exculpatory evidence and (2) he is "entitled
to an ex parte hearing for the appointment of an
Suppression of Exculpatory Evidence
second postconviction-relief application, Shortridge asserted
the State failed to disclose information relating to State
witness Jheri Hatten, who lived in Iowa for a short period
before moving to California. Specifically, he alleged, (1)
"Hatten was on probation out of Woodbury County for a
fourth-degree theft conviction entered on June 28, 1994,
" (2) a warrant was issued for her arrest,
(3) the State made arrangements to fly Hatten "back from
California to be interviewed by [a] homicide
investigator," (4) the State "obtained a transfer
of a probation violation involving Hatten from Woodbury
County to Polk County," (5) "on the same day she
returned" for the interview, the State "held a
[probation] revocation hearing" in Polk County, and (6)
the State "made a "favorable recommendation"
in the probation revocation hearing, which was not disclosed
to the defense.
postconviction court concluded the favorable recommendation
"was not suppressed because the information could have
been discovered by defense counsel." The court provided
the following reasoning:
Defense attorneys knew that Ms. Hatten was on probation at
the time of the murder, and in fact, their alibi defense was
partially based on the timing of applicant bonding her out of
jail. They likewise knew that she had left Iowa for
California in September of 1994 . . . . They knew that she
returned to Iowa in February of 1995 to provide a statement
to prosecutors. The probation violation hearing was conducted
on the record and the court filed an order accordingly. Any
review of the file would have revealed that a hearing was
held, which could have led to further investigation. The
State made Ms. Hatten available for deposition on three
occasions after the murder charge was filed. While defense
counsel did not know the circumstances of the probation
violation hearing, they at least had the grounds and
opportunity to inquire into any resolution of her pending
court also concluded "the information was not
appeal, Shortridge acknowledges "defense counsel would
have been aware of Ms. Hatten's being on probation."
He also acknowledges his attorneys arguably "could have
uncovered the arguments made at Ms. Hatten's probation
violation hearing." But he asserts his attorneys
"were not privy to . . . the circumstances bringing her
back to Iowa to take care of that." In his ...