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Hebron v. State

Court of Appeals of Iowa

September 11, 2019

CINDY CHRISTINE HEBRON, Applicant-Appellant,
v.
STATE OF IOWA, Respondent-Appellee.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Samantha Gronewald, Judge.

         An applicant appeals the denial of her application for postconviction relief.

          John C. Heinicke of Kragnes & Associates, P.C., Des Moines, for appellant.

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

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

          BOWER, Judge.

         In 2012, Cindy Hebron was involved in a serious automobile accident. During medical treatment, Hebron acted in a violent manner and struck hospital personnel. The hospital had a policy to record trauma center encounters, and Hebron's assaults on the hospital personnel were videotaped. Hebron was taken out of the trauma center for tests and treatment, then brought back. When the nurse started recording Hebron's second time in the room, she inadvertently recorded over the earlier encounter.[1] Hebron again acted violently.

         Hebron was charged with operating while under the influence (OWI), second offense, and three separate assaults. The matter proceeded to a jury trial in March 2014. Although the erased recording covering the time of the alleged assaults was not available, witnesses testified about Hebron's assaultive conduct. The jury did view the second recording of Hebron's continued violent behavior.

         During jury deliberations, a juror informed the court he had looked up Hebron online after deliberations had begun. He also stated he felt like a "prisoner of war" due to the jury's deadlock on the OWI count.[2] The court and counsel questioned the juror, during which they learned the juror had been trying to determine why Hebron seemed familiar to him but he had not discovered anything relating to the case or Hebron. The juror promptly ended his search after viewing the first result, which was unrelated to Hebron. After the voir dire, the State moved for mistrial due to a hung jury on all counts. Hebron's counsel, however, withdrew his prior mistrial motion relating to the OWI count, and then the State withdrew its motion. The court then stated, "I don't think the record warrants a mistrial."

         The jury found Hebron guilty of one count of assault on a healthcare provider as charged, guilty of a lesser-included count of assault on a health care worker, and not guilty of the third count of assault. The jury deadlocked and did not return a verdict on the OWI charge. Hebron later pleaded guilty to OWI, first offense.

         On direct appeal, we affirmed Hebron's convictions, finding sufficient evidence supported her assault convictions and finding her ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claim relating to the guilty plea failed on both the performance and prejudice prongs. State v. Hebron, No. 14-1344, 2015 WL 3876788, at *4-5 (Iowa Ct. App. June 24, 2015), On July 5, 2016, Hebron filed an application for postconviction relief (PCR), which was later amended by appointed counsel.

         A trial was held on June 21, 2018. Hebron testified, as did her trial counsel. On August 12, the district court denied Hebron's PCR application. Hebron filed a motion to amend and enlarge and submitted an additional exhibit concerning the erased recording.

         "We ordinarily review postconviction relief proceedings for errors at law." Love v. State, 543 N.W.2d 621, 623 (Iowa Ct. App. 1995). However, constitutional claims are reviewed de novo. Aguilera v. State, 807 N.W.2d 249, 252 (Iowa 2011). .

         On appeal, Hebron claims the district court erred in denying her due process claims. Hebron's due process claims include: the State failed to disclose exculpatory video evidence, perjured testimony was presented, and a juror improperly performed outside research. Hebron also claims her speedy-trial right was violated and her counsel provided ...


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