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Patterson v. State

October 23, 2003

HENRY L. PATTERSON, PETITIONER, APPELLANT,
v.
STATE OF MINNESOTA, RESPONDENT.



SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

1. On review of a post-conviction court's denial without evidentiary hearing of a petition for post-conviction relief, any doubts about whether an evidentiary hearing is required are to be resolved in favor of the petitioner; yet if the petition, files and record conclusively show that the petitioner is entitled to no relief, an evidentiary hearing is not required.

2. Petitioner's ineffective assistance of counsel claim fails the prejudice prong of Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984), and the post-conviction court did not err by denying the claim without an evidentiary hearing.

3. Petitioner's allegations regarding jurisdiction are mere argumentative assertions without any factual support and, therefore, an evidentiary hearing is not required.

Affirmed.

Considered and decided by the court enábanc without oral argument.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Anderson, Russell A., Justice

Hennepin County Anderson, Russell A., J.

OPINION

Henry Laverne Patterson was found guilty, following a jury trial, of first-degree premeditated murder for the death of three people and on direct appeal we affirmed. State v.áPatterson, 587 N.W.2d 45 (Minn. 1998).

In 2002, Patterson petitioned for post-conviction relief, alleging that he was denied effective assistance of counsel at trial and also alleging that the trial court was without jurisdiction because "various elements of the offense were not charged in the complaint, or found by the jury." He also claimed that he was denied access to the trial record. The post-conviction court, without an evidentiary hearing, denied Patterson's petition and we affirm.

On review of a post-conviction court's denial without an evidentiary hearing of a petition for post-conviction relief, we resolve any doubts about whether an evidentiary hearing is required in favor of the petitioner; yet if the petition, files and record conclusively show that the petitioner is entitled to no relief, we will not require an evidentiary hearing. Minn. Stat. § 590.04, subd. 1 (2002); Boitnott v. State, 582 N.W.2d 243, 245 (Minn. 1998).*fn1 We conclude, as did the post-conviction court, that the petition, files and record conclusively show that Patterson is entitled to no relief.

We consider first whether the post-conviction court erred by denying without evidentiary hearing Patterson's claim of ineffective assistance of trial counsel. The gist of Patterson's ineffective assistance claim is that an "alibi" witness, Leonard McAdoo, was not permitted to testify because Patterson's trial counsel failed to give notice of an alibi defense and also failed to disclose McAdoo as a witness. On direct appeal we reviewed the trial court's evidentiary ruling precluding McAdoo from testifying and held that the trial court had not abused its discretion and, further, that Patterson was not prejudiced by the ruling. To give context to our consideration of his post-conviction claim, we repeat essential facts from our earlier opinion.

Patterson was convicted of three counts of first-degree premeditated murder for the deaths of his ex-girlfriend's mother, the mother's 9-year-old son, and a 13-year-old neighbor. On direct appeal we affirmed. The bodies of the three victims were found in the basement of the mother's townhome on the morning of June 28, 1996. The estimated time of death was that morning, between 12 and 1 a.m. The victims' injuries included knife wounds, blunt force injuries to the face, head wounds caused by a hammer, and strangulation. Antonio Brayboy, who pleaded guilty pursuant to a plea agreement to three counts of accessory to first-degree murder, watched Patterson murder the victims and testified in great detail as to the instruments Patterson used, the location and types of wounds inflicted, and the order in which the wounds were inflicted. Brayboy's testimony was in accord with reports of the medical examiner and various investigators.

After both the state and defense rested, and immediately before final argument, Patterson's trial counsel attempted to call Leonard McAdoo, Patterson's chemical-abuse counselor. McAdoo was expected to testify that he had a counseling session with Patterson between 4:00 and 4:45 p.m. on June 27, 1996, some 7 to 8 hours before the estimated time of the murders. McAdoo's testimony was intended to impeach Brayboy's testimony and the testimony of others as to Patterson's whereabouts between 4:00 and 4:45 p.m. Patterson's trial counsel, who had failed to disclose McAdoo as a witness, alleged a mix-up regarding the import of McAdoo's testimony ...


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