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Wayne v. State

Supreme Court of Minnesota

June 6, 2018

Michael Wayne, Appellant,
v.
State of Minnesota, Respondent.

          Waseca County Office of Appellate Courts

          Michael Wayne, Moose Lake, Minnesota, pro se.

          Lori Swanson, Attorney General, Matthew Frank, Assistant Attorney General, Saint Paul, Minnesota; and Brenda Miller, Waseca County Attorney, Waseca, Minnesota, for respondent.

         SYLLABUS

         1. The district court did not abuse its discretion by summarily denying appellant's petition for postconviction relief based upon DNA evidence without an evidentiary hearing because no exception to the statutory 2-year time bar applied.

         2. Appellant's remaining claims in his petition for postconviction relief are barred because they were raised and denied in previous petitions.

         Affirmed.

          OPINION

          CHUTICH, JUSTICE.

         In 1987, Michael Wayne was convicted of first- and second-degree murder. Thirty years later, Wayne filed his ninth petition for postconviction relief, relying on recent lab reports that showed that the amount of male DNA found on the victim's body was insufficient for specific typing. Wayne argued that the forensic scientist's inability to match his DNA profile to the male DNA found on the victim's body established his actual innocence. The district court summarily denied Wayne's petition, concluding that the lab reports did not establish his actual innocence. Because we conclude that Wayne's petition is time-barred, or otherwise rests upon a meritless legal theory, we affirm.

         FACTS

         In 1987, Wayne was convicted of first- and second-degree murder for the death of Mona Armendariz and sentenced to life in prison.[1] He appealed, arguing that bloodstain evidence and certain witness statements were improperly admitted into evidence, the district court's refusal to allow alternative perpetrator evidence was error, and the evidence was insufficient to convict. We affirmed his conviction in his consolidated appeal from the judgment of conviction and the denial of his first postconviction petition. State v. Fenney (Wayne I), 448 N.W.2d 54, 62 (Minn. 1989).

         After that, Wayne filed seven more petitions for postconviction relief. In his second petition, he claimed that new evidence-a new statement from a witness about an alleged alternative perpetrator-established his innocence; the district court denied the petition. Wayne v. State (Wayne II), 498 N.W.2d 446');">498 N.W.2d 446, 447 (Minn. 1993). We affirmed, concluding that the alternative-perpetrator theory was presented at trial and the statement lacked credibility. Id. at 447-48. Wayne subsequently filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in federal court for the District of Minnesota. The court denied his petition, and the Eighth Circuit affirmed, highlighting the same credibility problems that we emphasized. Wayne v. Benson, 89 F.3d 530, 533-34 (Minn. 1996).

         His third petition raised other evidentiary issues, alleged a different alternative perpetrator, and included a request for DNA testing of bloodstains found on his clothing. Wayne v. State (Wayne III), 601 N.W.2d 440, 441 (Minn. 1999). After DNA testing revealed no new evidence, the district court denied his motion. Id. We affirmed, stating that the DNA testing revealed only further evidence of Wayne's guilt and that the other claims were barred by State v. Knaffla, 243 N.W.2d 737 (Minn. 1976). 601 N.W.2d at 441-42.

         Wayne's fourth petition for postconviction relief claimed ineffective assistance of counsel, evidentiary errors, newly discovered evidence in the form of a written confession by an alleged alternative perpetrator, erroneous jury instructions, prosecutorial misconduct, and other constitutional errors. Wayne v. State (Wayne IV), 747 N.W.2d 564, 565 (Minn. 2008). We concluded that the alternative-perpetrator claim had already been addressed in Wayne's second postconviction petition and that his other claims were barred by Knaffla. Id. at 566. More importantly, we concluded that the newly ...


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