State of Iowa v. Shawn Patrick Shelton


IN THE COURT OF APPEALS OF IOWA No. 19-0555 Filed July 21, 2021 STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee, vs. SHAWN PATRICK SHELTON, Defendant-Appellant. ________________________________________________________________ Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Lucas County, Terry Rickers, Judge. A defendant challenges the denial of his motion for new trial. WRIT SUSTAINED IN PART; ANNULLED IN PART; AND REMANDED. Peter Stiefel (until withdrawal) and Fred Stiefel, Victor, for appellant. Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Benjamin Parrott, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee. Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., May, J., and Blane, S.J.* *Senior judge assigned by order pursuant to Iowa Code section 602.9206 (2021). 2 BLANE, Senior Judge. Shawn Shelton was convicted of first-degree murder and attempt to commit murder in 1990. Twenty-six years later, he filed a motion for new trial based on newly discovered evidence that a witness, the co-defendant, recanted his trial testimony. After the district court ruled on Shelton’s motion for new trial, he appeals, raising numerous issues, including that the court failed to give him notice of the hearing on his motion for new trial and prevented him from presenting evidence from additional witnesses. We treat Shelton’s challenge as a petition for writ of certiorari. We find the court failed to give adequate notice of the hearing as required by Iowa Rule of Criminal Procedure 2.24(2)(a) and then ruled on the motion, so we sustain the writ. We will also address other issues presented to us that are appropriate under certiorari. I. FACTS AND PRIOR PROCEEDINGS In 1990, a jury convicted Shelton of first-degree murder and attempt to commit murder. See Shelton v. State, No. 08-1962, 2011 WL 441932, at *2 (Iowa Ct. App. Feb. 9, 2011). Ivan Swigart testified for the State at Shelton’s trial. On direct appeal, the supreme court reversed for trial error, and Shelton was retried and convicted.1 Id. Shelton was sentenced to life in prison. Id. His second direct appeal was dismissed as frivolous. Id. 1Swigart testified at Shelton’s first trial. After the remand, Swigart refused to testify at Shelton’s second trial. The State was permitted to offer the transcript of Swigart’s testimony from the first trial, so Swigart was not subject to additional cross-examination. 3 In 1992, Shelton filed an application for postconviction relief (PCR). Id. The PCR court denied the first application. Id. On appeal, we set out the underlying facts of the case: In the early morning hours of July 3, 1989, applicant, Shawn Shelton, and Ivan Eugene Swigart were leaving a party in Chariton, Iowa. Upon exiting town they observed a pickup truck behind them that they believed was following them. Shelton pulled his vehicle over to the side of the road hoping the pickup would drive by. Instead the pickup stopped along side of him and the occupants, Terry Allen Masters and Dwight Kennedy, inquired whether Shelton needed assistance. Shelton asked Masters and Kennedy “what the f*** is your problem” and told them to stop following him. Shelton then sped off throwing gravel at Masters’[s] truck. Shelton proceeded down the …

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