Anoka County District Court File No. 02-CR-10-1766.
Maurice Level Ward, Sr., Bayport, Minnesota (pro se appellant).
Lori Swanson, Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and Anthony C. Palumbo, Anoka County Attorney, Marcy S. Crain, Assistant County Attorney, Anoka, Minnesota (for respondent).
Considered and decided by Peterson, Presiding Judge; Chutich, Judge; and Smith, Judge.
Appellant Maurice Level Ward, Sr., challenges the district court's dismissal of his petition for postconviction relief. Because Ward's equal-protection and sentencing arguments could have been raised in his direct appeal and because his other arguments are without merit, we affirm.
In June 2010, a jury found Ward guilty of two counts of promotion of prostitution and one count of receiving profit derived from prostitution. The district court imposed concurrent sentences within the ranges prescribed by the sentencing guidelines. Ward filed a direct appeal, and we affirmed the convictions. State v. Ward, No. A10-2063, 2011 WL 5829073 (Minn.App. Nov. 21, 2011), review denied (Minn. Jan. 17, 2012). The supreme court denied Ward's petition for review.
Ward filed a petition for postconviction relief in district court in August 2012, appearing to argue that the promotion-of-prostitution statute violates equal protection and that his sentence is unlawful. The district court concluded that Ward was not entitled to an evidentiary hearing and dismissed his petition, finding that his postconviction arguments could have been made in his direct appeal and thus were barred by Minnesota. Statute section 590.01, subdivision 1 (2012). Ward appealed.
The district court may deny a postconviction petition summarily if the petition, files, and record conclusively demonstrate that no relief is warranted. Minn. Stat. § 590.04, subd. 1 (2012). We review the summary denial of a postconviction petition for an abuse of discretion. Powers v. State, 695 N.W.2d 371, 374 (Minn. 2005). "A postconviction court abuses its discretion when its decision is based on an erroneous view of the law or is against logic and the facts in the record." Riley v. State, 819 N.W.2d 162, 167 (Minn. 2012) (quotation omitted). We review a postconviction court's factual findings for clear error and its legal conclusions de novo. Martin v. State, 825 N.W.2d 734, 740 (Minn. 2013).
Minnesota law provides that "[a] petition for postconviction relief after a direct appeal has been completed may not be based on grounds that could have been raised on direct appeal of the conviction or sentence." Minn. Stat. § 590.01, subd. 1. This provision codifies the so-called Knaffla rule, which states that "a petition for postconviction relief raising claims that were raised on direct appeal, or were known or should have been known but were not raised at the time of the direct appeal, are procedurally barred." Andersen v. State, N.W.2d __, __, 2013 WL 1136318, at *4 (Minn. 2013) (citing State v. Knaffla, 309 Minn. 246, 252, 243 N.W.2d 737, 741 (1976)).
Knaffla does not bar a postconviction claim when "(1) the claim is novel or (2) the interests of fairness and justice warrant relief." Id. To warrant relief under the second exception, a petition "must have substantive merit and must be asserted without deliberate or inexcusable delay." Id. We review the denial of postconviction relief based on the Knaffla procedural bar for an ...