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Henderson v. State

Supreme Court of Minnesota

January 31, 2018

Keith Henderson, Appellant,
v.
State of Minnesota, Respondent.

         Hennepin County Office of Appellate Courts

          Zachary A. Longsdorf, Longsdorf Law Firm, PLC, Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota, for appellant.

          Lori Swanson, Attorney General, Saint Paul, Minnesota; and Michael O. Freeman, Hennepin County Attorney, Brittany D. Lawonn, Assistant County Attorney, Minneapolis, Minnesota, for respondent.

         SYLLABUS

         1. A postconviction court must accept the facts alleged in the petition as true when deciding whether a postconviction petition may be denied without holding an evidentiary hearing.

         2. The postconviction court did not abuse its discretion when it summarily denied appellant's third petition for postconviction relief because the petition did not clearly and convincingly establish appellant's innocence in order to satisfy the newly-discovered-evidence exception under Minn. Stat. § 590.01, subd. 4(b)(2) (2016).

         Affirmed.

         Considered and decided by the court without oral argument.

          OPINION

          HUDSON, Justice.

         This case is an appeal from the denial of Keith Henderson's third petition for postconviction relief, which asserts several claims based on facts alleged in two sworn affidavits. The postconviction court summarily denied Henderson's petition because it was filed after the statute of limitations in Minn. Stat. § 590.01, subd. 4(a) (2016), expired, and failed to meet the newly-discovered-evidence exception in subdivision 4(b)(2). Because the affidavits are legally insufficient to establish that Henderson is innocent of the offenses of which he was convicted, the postconviction court did not abuse its discretion when it summarily denied the petition as untimely filed. We affirm.

         FACTS

         In 1998, Juwan Gatlin was killed by fellow gang members in an alleyway in Minneapolis.[1] He was shot between 13 and 15 times. Following a police investigation, Henderson was indicted for first-degree premeditated murder, Minn. Stat. § 609.185(1) (2016), and a crime committed for the benefit of a gang, Minn. Stat. § 609.229 (2016). Donte Evans and Darryl McKee were also indicted for Gatlin's murder.

         Henderson, McKee, Evans, and Gatlin were all members of a street gang known as the Mickey Cobras. Gatlin was killed because he gave information to police that led to the arrest of two other Mickey Cobra members for an unsolved murder. At trial, the State presented several witnesses who testified to Henderson's involvement in Gatlin's murder. The testimony of H.W., A.N., and D.J. is relevant to this appeal.

         H.W., another Mickey Cobra, testified that Evans told him about Henderson's involvement in Gatlin's murder. H.W. described two conversations with Evans, one in a car and one in a hallway. H.W. said that he, his "little cousin, " and Evans were in a car together when Evans said, "T, we got away with it . . . we got [Gatlin], we got [Gatlin]."[2]The "little cousin" to whom H.W. referred at trial ...


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