This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2000).







Richard Thomas Ronquist,






State of Minnesota,




Filed June 19, 2001

Foley, Judge


Ramsey County District Court

File No. K6-96-2829


Richard T. Ronquist, MCF-Stillwater, 970 Pickett Street North, Bayport, MN 55003-1490 (appellant pro se)


Mike Hatch, Attorney General, 525 Park Street, Suite 500, St. Paul, MN 55103; and


Susan Gaertner, Ramsey County Attorney, Mark N. Lystig, Assistant County Attorney, 50 Kellogg Boulevard West, Suite 315, St. Paul, MN 55102 (for respondent)


Considered and decided by Peterson, Presiding Judge, Kalitowski, Judge, and Foley, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N

FOLEY, Judge

Appellant Richard Thomas Ronquist challenges the denial of his petition for postconviction relief.  Because appellant’s postconviction claims were either previously raised on direct appeal, known at the time of appeal, or lack factual support, we affirm.


            Appellant was charged with attempted criminal sexual conduct in the first degree in violation of Minn. Stat. §§ 609.17, .342, subd. 1(e)i (1996).  Appellant waived his right to a jury trial, and, following a bench trial, the district court found him guilty.  The district court imposed and executed the mandatory life sentence.  Ronquist appealed, challenging his sentence and the adequacy of his representation at trial.  Both this court and the Minnesota Supreme Court affirmed his conviction and sentence.  State v. Ronquist, 578 N.W.2d 4 (Minn. App. 1998), aff’d, 600 N.W.2d 444 (Minn. 1999). 

            Appellant then filed a pro se petition for postconviction relief, claiming that his sentence was improper and that his Sixth Amendment rights had been violated.  Respondent filed a letter response with a proposed order and memorandum.  The district court adopted the proposed order and memorandum and denied relief.  Neither party, however, was sent a copy of the order.  The district court took no further action on the matter until appellant requested and was sent a copy of the order denying relief.

            Appellant sought review of the order denying postconviction relief.  Because his appeal was untimely, appellant filed a voluntary dismissal of his appeal.  Appellant then filed a second petition for postconviction relief.  The alternative claims for relief were either (1) vacate and set aside his conviction, (2) reduce the sentence to 110 months imprisonment, (3) give appellant a new trial to correct a manifest injustice, or (4) allow him an evidentiary hearing.  The district court summarily denied appellant’s second petition for postconviction relief, and this appeal followed.


            The scope of review of a postconviction proceeding is limited to determining whether there is sufficient evidence to sustain the postconviction court’s findings, and a postconviction court’s decision will not be disturbed absent an abuse of discretion.     


Black v. State, 560 N.W.2d 83, 85 (Minn. 1997) (citation omitted).

            1.         Denial of Postconviction Relief

            Appellant argues that the district court erred in summarily denying his petition for postconviction relief without granting his request for an evidentiary hearing.  Appellant claims that he is entitled to postconviction relief because the district court erred in sentencing him to a life sentence and his Sixth Amendment rights were violated.  These claims, however, are the same claims that appellant raised in his direct appeal.  “[A] claim raised on direct appeal will not be considered upon a subsequent petition for postconviction relief.” Roby v. State, 531 N.W.2d 482, 484 (Minn. 1995) (citation omitted).

            The court may summarily deny a second or successive petition for similar relief on behalf of the same petitioner and may summarily deny a petition when the issues raised in it have previously been decided by the court of appeals or the supreme court in the same case.


Minn. Stat. § 590.04, subd. 3 (2000).  This court and the supreme court have previously decided that appellant’s sentence was lawful and that he was not denied effective assistance of counsel in violation of the Sixth Amendment.  State v. Ronquist, 578 N.W.2d 4, 6-7 (Minn. App. 1998), aff’d, 600 N.W.2d 444, 446-50 (Minn. 1999).

            Appellant also claims that the district court was biased against him and that favorable evidence existed that was not disclosed or presented to the district court.  But appellant does not provide any supporting facts demonstrating judicial bias or that favorable evidence existed that was not presented in his defense.  Appellant also argues that there were ex parte communications between respondent and the district court, but admits receiving a copy of the correspondence he alleges was ex parte.  Appellant also asserts that the district court should have ordered a competency evaluation before proceeding.  However, competency evaluations are not to be ordered as routine procedure, but only where the court determines “that there is reason to doubt the defendant’s competency.”  Minn. R. Crim. P. 20.01, subd. 2.

[W]here direct appeal has once been taken, all matters raised therein, and all claims known but not raised, will not be considered upon a subsequent petition for postconviction relief.


State v. Knaffla, 309 Minn. 246, 252, 243 N.W.2d 737, 741 (1976).  “The Knaffla rule applies if the defendant knew or should have known about the issue at the time of appeal.”  Sutherlin v. State, 574 N.W.2d 428, 432 (Minn. 1998) (citation omitted).

The district court did not abuse its discretion in denying appellant’s petition for postconviction relief because his postconviction claims were either raised, or were known to him and should have been raised, in his direct appeal. [1]

            2.         Denial of Evidentiary Hearing

            Appellant argues that the district court erred in denying him an evidentiary hearing on his petition for postconviction relief.  “A petitioner seeking postconviction relief has the burden of establishing, by a fair preponderance of the evidence, facts which warrant relief.”  Gassler v. State, 590 N.W.2d 769, 771 (Minn. 1999) (citing Minn. Stat. § 590.04, subd. 3 (1998)).

A postconviction court may dismiss a petition for postconviction relief without conducting an evidentiary hearing if the petition, files, and record “conclusively show that the petitioner is entitled to no relief.”  Minn. Stat. § 590.04, subd. 1[.]  Furthermore, a petitioner’s allegations must be more than argumentative assertions without factual support.


Gassler, 590 N.W.2d at 771 (quotation and citation omitted).  The facts and grounds on which appellant based his petition are that the “[s]entencing court erred in sentencing [appellant] in lieu of its allowance of ‘ambiguity’ of actual behavior to be punished,” that the “[s]entencing court erred when it sentenced [appellant] in lieu of its potential ‘partiality’ in direct violation of [appellant’s] constitutional right to ‘due process of law,’” and that the “[s]entencing court erred when it sentenced [appellant] in lieu of its clear and present violations of [appellant’s] Sixth Amendment [rights].”  Because appellant’s allegations lack factual support, the district court did not abuse its discretion in concluding that he was not entitled to relief and in denying him an evidentiary hearing.



* Retired judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, serving by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.

[1] In his reply brief, appellant also takes issue with the fact that he was not served with a copy of the district court’s order denying his first petition for postconviction relief until he requested one.  In its brief, respondent confirms that “[n]either party * * * was sent a copy of the order.”  Because any delay in appellant’s notification of the order denying his first petition for postconviction relief did not affect substantial rights, any error was harmless.  See Minn. R. Crim. P. 31.01 (“Any error, defect, irregularity or variance which does not affect substantial rights shall be disregarded.”).