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Moir v. State

Court of Appeals of Iowa

December 19, 2018

DREW MATTHEW MOIR, Applicant-Appellant,
v.
STATE OF IOWA, Respondent-Appellee.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Plymouth County, Jeffrey A. Neary, Judge.

         Drew Moir appeals the district court order summarily dismissing his application for postconviction relief.

          Zachary S. Hindman of Mayne, Hindman, & Daane (until withdrawal), Sioux City, and Priscilla E. Forsyth, Sioux City, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Zachary C. Miller, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Potterfield and Doyle, JJ.

          DOYLE, JUDGE.

         Drew Moir appeals the summary dismissal of his application for postconviction relief (PCR), finding it was barred by the statute of limitations because it was filed more than three years after judgment and sentence was entered. See Iowa Code § 822.3 (2017). Because we construe a letter Moir mailed to a district court judge and filed by the clerk of court before the statute of limitations ran as a PCR application, we reverse the dismissal and remand for further proceedings.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         On February 17, 2014, Moir filed a written waiver of rights and guilty plea to one count of assault with intent to commit sexual abuse. The next day, on February 18, 2014, the district court accepted Moir's plea and sentenced him to a two-year suspended sentence. Moir violated his probation by absconding from supervision the following month.

In a letter to a district court judge dated October 1, 2016, Moir wrote:
My name is Drew Moir. Your name was given to me because you may be able to help me. A few years ago I was accused of misdemeanor assault with intent to commit sexual (assault or abuse). I was 17 years old at the time and the Public Defender that was defending me, coerced me into signing a plea bargain. He told me that if I didn't sign the plea bargain (which was probation and registering as a sex offender), then I was going to go to prison for up to a year. I was scared and under the impression that plea bargains were not an admission of guilt.
After I finally realized that I was admitting guilt it was too late, I thought so I violated probation and went to Illinois. I am currently in Illinois prison and am trying to get my life back together. I get out December 13, 2017 and I plan on turning myself in for violating my probation in Le Mars as soon as I get out. I am not a sex offender and do not want to live my life as a sex offender. I am 20 years old and want to get my life in order so that I can live a productive life. My father, David Moir, and my grandmother, Audra Moir, told me that you were a superb lawyer and are an excellent Judge. I believe you married my father and my stepmother Mellisa Moir.
If there is any way you can help I would greatly appreciate it. If not, could you please recommend anyone that may be able to help me clear my name. [The remaining text on the page is cut off the copy provided in our electronic record-apparently a result of the scanning process.]

The judge replied by an undated letter acknowledging receipt of Moir's letter the previous fall, apologizing for the delay in responding, and explaining he could not assist Moir because of ethical reasons. The judge's letter and Moir's letter were filed ...


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