This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2002).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Bajram Hajrusi, petitioner,
State of Minnesota,
Filed November 4, 2003
Toussaint, Chief Judge
Clay County District Court
File No. K8-99-2198
Bajram Hajrusi, OID 204887, Minnesota Correction Facility, 970 Pickett Street North, Bayport, MN 55003-1490 (pro se appellant)
Mike Hatch, Attorney General, Thomas R. Ragatz, Assistant Attorney General, 1800 NCL Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101-2134; and
Lisa Borgen, Clay County Attorney, Clay County Courthouse, 807 North 11th Street, P.O. Box 280, Moorhead, MN 56561 (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Stoneburner, Presiding Judge; Toussaint, Chief Judge; and Shumaker, Judge.
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
TOUSSAINT, Chief Judge
In March 2000, appellant Bajram Hajrusi was convicted in Clay County District Court of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. On appeal, Hajrusi challenges the district court’s denial of an evidentiary hearing on his petition for postconviction relief. Hajrusi argues that he is entitled to a new trial because (1) he was incompetent to assist in his defense at trial because he was taking the medication Paxil and (2) he received ineffective assistance of counsel because his court-appointed attorney allowed him to go to trial while medicated. Because the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying the evidentiary hearing, we affirm.
D E C I S I O N
Appellate courts “review a postconviction court’s findings to determine whether there is sufficient evidentiary support in the record.” Dukes v. State, 621 N.W.2d 246, 251 (Minn. 2001). A district courts findings of fact are afforded great deference and we will not reverse the findings unless they are clearly erroneous. Id. “The decisions of a postconviction court will not be disturbed unless the court abused its discretion.” Id. To warrant an evidentiary hearing a petitioner’s postconviction allegations must be “more than argumentative assertions without factual support.” King v. State, 649 N.W.2d 149, 158 (Minn. 2002) (quoting Beltowski v. State, 289 Minn. 215, 217, 183 N.W.2d 563, 564 (1971)).
Competence to Stand Trial
A defendant is deemed incompetent to stand trial if he lacks sufficient ability to consult with a reasonable degree of rational understanding withdefense counsel, or is mentally ill or mentally deficient so as to be incapable of understanding the proceedings or participating in the defense. Minn. R. Crim. P. 20.01, subd. 1. If the prosecutor, defense attorney, or the court has reason to doubt the competency of the defendant, they are obligated to raise the issue, even over the defendant’s objection. Minn. R. Crim. P. 20.01, subd. 2 (2003). Evidence of the defendant’s conduct and demeanor at trial, and any prior medical opinion on competence to stand trial are relevant in determining whether there is reason to doubt the defendant’s competence. Drope v. Missouri, 420 U.S. 162, 180, 95 S. Ct. 896, 908 (1975).
Hajrusi contends that medications administered to him while in jail awaiting trial rendered him incompetent to stand trial. But while Hajrusi has produced evidence that jail medical personnel administered psychotropic drugs to him in the weeks following the trial, he has produced no evidence indicating he was administered any such drugs prior to or during trial. Moreover, Hajrusi points to no specific examples of irrational behavior, unusual demeanor, or prior medical opinions, and the record does not indicate that he had difficulty understanding the proceedings.
Because Hajrusi offered no factual support for his claim that medication use rendered him incompetent to stand trial, the district court did not err in denying an evidentiary hearing.
Ineffective Assistance of Counsel
To prevail on a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, appellant “must affirmatively prove that his counsel’s representation ‘fell below an objective standard of reasonableness’ and ‘that there is a reasonable probability that, but for counsel’s unprofessional errors, the result of the proceeding would have been different. A reasonable probability is a probability sufficient to undermine confidence in the outcome.’” Gates v. State, 398 N.W.2d 558, 561 (Minn. 1987) (quoting Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 688, 694, 104 S. Ct. 2052, 2064, 2068 (1984)).
Hajrusi claims his court-appointed counsel’s representation fell below an objective standard of reasonableness because he allowed Hajrusi to go to trial while medicated. As discussed supra, the record does not indicate that Hajrusi was adversely affected by medication before or during the trial. With no evidence that he was medicated during the trial, his claim of ineffective assistance of counsel is unsupported.
Moreover, Hajrusi’s claims are procedurally barred. In 2001, Hajrusi came to this court seeking relief from the upward departure from the sentencing guidelines imposed by the district court. Where 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). Postconviction ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claims are generally precluded if known at the time of direct appeal. Black v. State, 560 N.W.2d 83, 85 (Minn. 1997). An exception exists when the claim is such that the reviewing court needs additional facts to explain the attorney’s decisions. Id. at 85 and n.1.
The record indicates that Hajrusi knew or should have known of these claims at the time of his earlier appeal. And no further facts are needed to explain his attorney’s decision to proceed to trial because Hajrusi has failed to show that he was in any way affected by medication at the time of the trial. Because Hajrusi’s claims were known at the time of his earlier appeal and no additional facts are needed to explain his attorney’s decisions, Hajrusi is precluded from raising these claims at this time.
Because Hajrusi has offered no factual support for his claims of incompetence to stand trial and ineffective assistance of counsel, the postconviction court did not err in denying Hajrusi an evidentiary hearing. Additionally, because Hajrusi’s claims should have been known at the time of his earlier appeal, they are procedurally barred.