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Harris v. State

Court of Appeals of Iowa

July 3, 2019

FRANKLIN HARRIS, Applicant-Appellant,
v.
STATE OF IOWA, Respondent-Appellee.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Des Moines County, Michael J. Schilling, Judge.

         Franklin Harris appeals the district court's summary disposition of his actual innocence claim in his application for post-conviction relief. AFFIRMED.

          Jacob Mason of JL Mason Law, PLLC, Ankeny, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Sharon K. Hall, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Potterfield and Doyle, JJ.

          POTTERFIELD, JUDGE

         Franklin Harris appeals the summary disposition of his actual innocence claim asserted in his third application for postconviction relief (PCR).

         A. Factual Background & Procedural History

         The district court summarized the relevant background facts in its order denying Harris's first PCR application:

Harris moved to Burlington, Iowa from Chicago, Illinois with his girlfriend, Ms. Sandra Badger, for employment opportunities. On February 7, 2008, Harris went to work as scheduled, but Ms. Badger did not. Harris returned home after his shift ended around 6:00 a.m. February 8, 2008. Later that morning, around 10:00 or 11:00 a.m., Harris and Ms. Badger argued about money and their relationship. The argument quickly escalated and became very heated.
Harris went to the kitchen, obtained a knife, and returned to the bedroom where the argument was taking place. Harris proceeded to stab Ms. Badger with the knife several times. A witness attempted to intervene but stopped when Harris made threatening motions with the knife toward the witness. The witness left the scene and called 911.
After stabbing Badger, Harris immediately left on foot, taking Ms. Badger's purse with him. Ms. Badger staggered outside to the street where she collapsed. Emergency medical personnel transported Badger to Great River Medical Center in West Burlington, Iowa where she died about an hour later. The police apprehended Harris shortly thereafter and he admitted to stabbing Badger.

         Harris was charged with murder in the first-degree on February 8, 2008. Harris later pleaded guilty to second-degree murder on April 21, 2008. An order accepting the guilty plea was entered that same day. Harris was sentenced to a fifty-year prison term on June 2, 2008.

         Harris appealed his conviction. The Iowa Supreme Court determined the appeal was frivolous and dismissed it on October 14, 2008. State v. Harris, No. 08-1144 (Iowa 2008). Harris filed his first PCR application on November 3, 2008, alleging his trial counsel did not provide him adequate advice related to his guilty plea. He did not raise an actual innocence claim. The district court denied his application on all ...


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