1. All matters raised by appellant in his post-conviction petition for claims of ineffective assistance of trial counsel were either decided on direct appeal or are procedurally barred by our holding in Knaffla.
2. The post-conviction court did not abuse its discretion in summarily denying Ives' petition for post-conviction relief for claims of ineffective assistance of appellate counsel.
Considered and decided by the court en banc without oral argument.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Meyer, Justice
Jason Michael Ives appeals from a summary denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. The post-conviction court denied Ives relief on the basis that his claims, while technically different from those submitted during his direct appeal, did not constitute a claim upon which relief could be granted. We affirm.
We briefly summarize the case to provide context for the issues raised in this appeal. (The facts are more fully detailed in Ives' direct appeal to this court, State v. Ives, 568 N.W.2d 710 (Minn. 1997)). Ives was convicted for the November 1995 shooting death of James Magnus, Jr., a night clerk at an Amoco station. Ives, 568 N.W.2d at 712. The only evidence recovered from the scene was several latent fingerprints found on the entrance and exit doors to the station. Id. An anonymous tip led the authorities to several witnesses who said that Ives had admitted his involvement in the shooting. Id. According to these witnesses, Ives and Brian Crooks went into the Amoco store and attempted to rob Magnus. Id. Fearing that Magnus had given a code to alert the police, Ives cocked his gun and released the hammer, allegedly forgetting that there was a bullet in the next chamber. Id.
At trial, the state argued that Ives shot Magnus after Crooks fled the scene. Id. The state presented several witnesses who testified either that Ives had told them directly about his involvement in the incident or they had overhead him speaking about his involvement. Id. In Ives' defense, his attorney argued that it was a different man, Aaron Hanson, who committed the robbery, or in the alternative that the shooting was an accident. The jury convicted Ives of two counts of murder in the first degree (premeditated murder and intentional murder in the commission of a felony) and two counts of murder in the second degree (intentional murder and felony murder in the commission of an aggravated robbery). Id. at 712-13. Ives was sentenced to life in prison. Id. at 713.
On direct appeal, Ives challenged his conviction on two grounds: prosecutorial misconduct and ineffective assistance of counsel. Id. at 712. Specifically, he argued that during the prosecutor's final argument she improperly: (1) interjected her opinion on the credibility of evidence; (2) appealed to the passions of the jury; (3) disparaged Ives' defense by leading the jury to believe that a defendant cannot assert alternative defense theories; (4) attacked Ives' character; and (5) made an indirect reference to Ives' pre-arrest silence in violation of his Fifth Amendment rights. Id. at 713. Ives also argued that he was denied effective assistance of counsel because his attorney did not adequately prepare for trial, failed to call witnesses who would have raised credibility questions about the state's witnesses, and failed to object to the prosecutor's comments regarding Ives' character. Id. at 714. We held that although the prosecutor's remarks regarding Ives' character were improper, this misconduct was not so prejudicial that it denied Ives a fair trial. Id. at 715. We also concluded that Ives' claims of ineffective assistance of counsel failed because most of his claims were based on criticism of trial counsel tactics, which we will not review, and he had not established that the outcome of the trial would have been different had the alleged errors not occurred. Id.
On April 12, 2002, Ives filed a petition for post-conviction relief in which he alleged ineffective assistance of both trial and appellate counsel. Ives argued that he was denied effective assistance of trial counsel because his counsel failed to properly investigate several defense theories that could have been raised at trial. Ives also claimed that his appellate counsel failed to tell him that his trial counsel had offered to take the blame for not objecting to the prosecutor's comments during closing argument.*fn1 Ives asserted that this prejudiced his claim of ineffective assistance of counsel on direct appeal. The post-conviction court reviewed Ives' claims and summarily denied his petition for post-conviction relief because it found the claims asserted were not new and there was no evidence that Ives had been denied effective assistance of counsel.
The sole issue before this court is whether the post-conviction court abused its discretion in summarily denying Ives' petition for post-conviction relief. On appeal from a summary denial of post-conviction relief, we examine whether sufficient evidence exists to support the post-conviction court's findings and will reverse those findings only upon proof that the post-conviction court abused its discretion. Roby v. State, 547 N.W.2d 354, 356 (Minn. 1996).
Under Minn. Stat. § 590.04, the district court is required to grant a hearing for any post-conviction petition filed unless the issues raised in the petition conclusively show that the petitioner is not entitled to relief. Minn. Stat. § 590.04, subd. 1 (2002). When a direct appeal has been taken and litigated before this court, all matters raised during the appeal and all claims known by the defendant, but not raised, are barred and will not be considered upon a subsequent post-conviction petition for relief. State v. Knaffla, 309 Minn. 246, 252, 243 N.W.2d 737, 741 (Minn. 1976); see also Minn. Stat. § 590.04, subd. 3 (2002) (stating that a post-conviction petition may be summarily dismissed when it raises issues that have been previously decided in the same case by an appellate court). In general, Knaffla bars claims of ineffective assistance of counsel when such claims are known at the time of appeal, except where the claim requires additional fact-finding by the court. See Dukes v. State, 621 N.W.2d 246, 255 (Minn. 2001) (noting additional fact-finding is required when the claim requires evidence of attorney-client communications). Additionally, this court has granted post-conviction relief when the issue raised is "so novel that it can be said that its legal basis was not reasonably available at the time the direct appeal was taken and decided" or where the interests of justice require relief. Fox v. State, 474 N.W.2d 821, 824 (Minn. 1991); Boittnot v. State, 631 N.W.2d 362, 370 (Minn. 2001).
Ives argues that he was denied a fair trial by ineffective assistance of trial counsel because his counsel failed to conduct a thorough investigation of the facts surrounding the charge, failed to obtain an independent investigation of the forensic and ballistic evidence, failed to investigate Ives' mental and emotional status, and failed to investigate the extent of Ives' gross intoxication. The state maintains that these claims are procedurally barred because they are similar to issues raised during Ives' direct ...