This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2004).
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Ronny Auburn Doran, petitioner,
Filed April 18, 2006
Clay County District Court
File No. K7-02-1247
Ronny Auburn Doran, OID # 210357, MCF-Faribault, 1101 Linden Lane, Faribault, MN 55021-6400 (pro se appellant)
Mike Hatch, Attorney General, 1800
Lisa N. Borgen,
Considered and decided by Worke, Presiding Judge; Wright, Judge; and Dietzen, Judge.
Appellant challenges the district court’s denial of his petition for postconviction relief, arguing that (1) his trial counsel was ineffective; (2) the trial transcripts were purposely altered by court personnel; (3) the courtroom was improperly closed during trial; (4) the district court committed prejudicial errors during trial; (5) prosecutorial misconduct occurred at trial; and (6) he was entitled to an evidentiary hearing on his petition. We affirm.
June 2002, appellant Ronny Auburn Doran and his wife Kathryn Doran had a heated
argument after a day of drinking.
Kathryn went to neighbor Tom Davis’s apartment in an attempt to
de-escalate the dispute. Approximately 20
minutes later, appellant burst into
Officers arrived at appellant’s residence and explained that they were responding to a report that appellant had been in a neighbor’s apartment with a knife. Appellant refused to cooperate and became physically aggressive toward the officers, requiring the use of non-lethal force. After appellant was restrained, the officers located the knife described by the victims under the couch where appellant had been sitting.
was charged with first-degree burglary in violation of Minn. Stat. § 609.582,
subd. 1(a); first-degree burglary in violation of Minn. Stat. § 609.582, subd.
1(c), second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon in violation of Minn. Stat.
§ 609.222, subd. 1; two counts of terroristic threats in violation of
At trial, respondent called both victims and the police officers who responded to the incident to testify. Both victims testified to a similar version of events. Kathryn admitted that she had initially lied to the officers to protect appellant. Defense counsel called appellant and appellant’s friend, Aaron Jensen, as witnesses. Appellant testified that the incident did not occur and that the state’s witnesses were lying. Jensen testified that Kathryn’s version of events had been inconsistent following the incident. Jensen admitted that he had no personal, first-hand knowledge of the incident.
appellant was found guilty on all counts and received consecutive sentences
totaling 121 months. In his direct
appeal, appellant, through counsel, challenged his convictions of first-degree
burglary and second-degree assault, arguing that the district court erred in
its jury instructions. Appellant’s pro
se brief included claims of ineffective assistance of counsel, altered trial
transcripts, and an improperly closed courtroom during trial. This court affirmed the convictions and
sentence, but preserved appellant’s pro se issues of ineffective assistance of
counsel, altered trial transcripts, and improperly closed courtroom to be
pursued in a petition for postconviction relief. State
v. Doran, 2003 WL 22480310, *6 (
In February 2005, appellant petitioned for postconviction relief, arguing that he was entitled to relief on the issues preserved on direct appeal and on new claims of prosecutorial misconduct and trial court errors. Appellant requested an evidentiary hearing on these claims.
The district court summarily denied the petition without holding an evidentiary hearing, concluding that appellant failed to demonstrate ineffective assistance of counsel; that the alleged alteration of transcripts and closed-courtroom arguments had no basis in the record; and that the other claims were procedurally barred because they were known, but not raised, in appellant’s direct appeal. Appellant’s subsequent request for reconsideration of the petition was denied. This appeal follows.
D E C I S I O N
for postconviction relief are collateral attacks on judgments, which carry a
presumption of regularity and, therefore, cannot be lightly set aside. Pederson
v. State, 649 N.W.2d 161, 163 (
Appellant raises six issues on appeal. Appellant argues that the district court erred by denying his petition for postconviction relief on the three issues preserved for a postconviction appeal, i.e., ineffective assistance of counsel, altered trial transcripts, and an improperly closed courtroom.
Ineffective Assistance of Counsel
First, appellant argues that he was provided ineffective assistance of counsel at trial because defense counsel failed to make objections and present evidence, to request an omnibus hearing, and to express a conflict of interest. Respondent contends that appellant’s allegations fail to satisfy the Strickland test for ineffective assistance of counsel.
Strickland v. Washington, the United
States Supreme Court established a two-part test to determine whether defense
counsel has provided ineffective assistance.
raises multiple defense-counsel errors, but even assuming that appellant was
able to satisfy the first prong of the Strickland
test, he presents no evidence to support the second prong, i.e., “that a
reasonable probability exists that the outcome would have been different but
for counsel’s errors.” State v. Blanche, 696 N.W.2d 351, 376 (
Here, the alleged
errors would not have affected the outcome, given the overwhelming evidence
supporting appellant’s conviction. See State v. Haglund, 267 N.W.2d 503,
Because appellant’s ineffective-assistance-of-counsel argument fails to meet the Strickland test, the district court did not err in denying appellant’s petition for postconviction relief on that claim.
Second, appellant argues that the district court erred in denying his petition for postconviction relief because certain portions of the pretrial and trial transcripts were purposely altered by court personnel. The alleged alterations include re-ordering the appearance of witnesses, and omissions of words and objections.
argument is unsubstantiated, and mere allegations with no factual support are
insufficient to support this claim, particularly in light of the fact that the
transcripts were certified by the reporter as correct. See
Sivertson v. Sims Sec., Inc., 390 N.W.2d 868, 872 (
argues that his constitutional right to a public trial was violated because the
courtroom was improperly closed. But
there is nothing in the record that supports his assertion that the public was
barred from the courtroom. The only
mention in the record of restrictions on courtroom activity involved defense
counsel’s request that witnesses be sequestered. Moreover, even if appellant could establish
error, he has not asserted any prejudice as a result of a closure.
Appellant also raises
two new arguments on appeal. Appellant
argues that the district court erred in denying his petition for postconviction
relief because the district court committed numerous trial errors and the
prosecutor engaged in misconduct. Respondent
contends that appellant is barred from raising these arguments under State v. Knaffla, 309
Knaffla court held that “where a
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
appellant raises a myriad of alleged trial court errors, including misleading
jury instructions, improper courtroom disruptions, and erroneous admission of
evidence; and allegations of prosecutorial misconduct. But these alleged errors and misconduct occurred
during trial and, thus, were known at the time of direct appeal. Further, appellant’s claims are not novel,
and appellant provides no reasons, other than his pro se status, for the
invocation of the fairness exception.
But pro se litigants are generally held to the same standards as
attorneys, Liptak v. State, 340
N.W.2d 366, 367 (
Regardless, appellant’s arguments are without merit. We have reviewed the record and conclude that the alleged trial court errors and prosecutorial misconduct constituted either permissible conduct or harmless errors.
Because appellant’s claims of trial court errors and prosecutorial misconduct are procedurally barred under Knaffla, and are without merit, the district court did not abuse its discretion by denying appellant postconviction relief on these claims.
Appellant argues that the district court abused its discretion by denying his request for an evidentiary hearing because he placed material facts in dispute regarding ineffective assistance of defense counsel, alteration of transcripts, prosecutorial misconduct, and trial court errors that entitled him to a hearing.
district court must grant an evidentiary hearing in a postconviction proceeding
“[u]nless the petition and the files and records of the proceeding conclusively
show that the petitioner is entitled to no relief[.]” Minn. Stat. § 590.04, subd. 1 (2004). An evidentiary hearing is necessary when
there is a material issue of fact in dispute.
State ex rel.
Here, appellant’s ineffective-assistance claim fails as a matter of law because appellant failed to allege facts sufficient to satisfy the Strickland test. Appellant’s other postconviction claims are based solely on argumentative assertions without factual support or are procedurally barred. Consequently, the district court did not abuse its discretion by denying the request for an evidentiary hearing.
 Although appellant raised three arguments in his postconviction petition that were previously raised and preserved on direct appeal, the standard of review for preserved issues is that applicable to petitions for postconviction relief.