This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2006).





John Henry Reed, petitioner,


State of Minnesota,


Filed August 28, 2007


Lansing, Judge



Hennepin County District Court

File No. 94094194



John Henry Reed, 970 Pickett Street North, Bayport, MN 55003 (pro se appellant)

Lori Swanson, Attorney General, 1800 Bremer Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101; and

Michael O. Freeman, Hennepin County Attorney, Thomas A. Weist, Assistant County Attorney, C-2000 Government Center, 300 South Sixth Street, Minneapolis, MN 55487 (for respondent)



            Considered and decided by Lansing, Presiding Judge; Klaphake, Judge; and Peterson, Judge.


U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N


            The district court denied John Reed’s second postconviction-relief petition after concluding that Reed’s claims were procedurally barred because he had either raised them or could have raised them in his direct appeal or his first postconviction-relief petition.  On appeal, Reed argues that his claims are not procedurally barred, that he has produced evidence of ineffective assistance of counsel, and that the jury returned legally inconsistent verdicts.  Because Reed’s claims are procedurally barred by State v. Knaffla, 309 Minn. 246, 243 N.W.2d 737 (1976), we affirm. 


            A jury found John Reed guilty of second-degree intentional murder and second-degree felony murder.  The district court sentenced Reed to 386 months on the intentional-murder count.

            In a direct appeal from his 1995 conviction, Reed argued that the district court violated his constitutional right to counsel by denying his request to appoint substitute counsel.  We affirmed Reed’s conviction.  State v. Reed, No. C9-95-1443 (Minn. App. Apr. 30, 1996). 

            Reed filed a postconviction-relief petition in 2002 in which he alleged prosecutorial misconduct and ineffective assistance of counsel.  The district court denied the petition and we affirmed.  Reed v. State, No. C0-02-444 (Minn. App. Oct. 1, 2002).

            Reed filed this second postconviction-relief petition in 2006.  As a basis for relief he claims that the jury returned inconsistent verdicts and that he was denied effective assistance of counsel.  He has also provided two affidavits stating that the prosecutor and his attorney told a prospective witness that “possible charges would be filed against him” if he testified.  The district court concluded that Reed’s petition was procedurally barred and denied the petition.  Reed now appeals the denial.


When a direct appeal has been taken, all claims that were raised or could have been raised will not be considered in a petition for postconviction relief unless an exception applies.  State v. Knaffla, 309 Minn. 246, 252, 243 N.W.2d 737, 741 (1976).  The Knaffla rule also bars claims that were raised or known but not raised in an earlier postconviction-relief petition.  Spears v. State, 725 N.W.2d 696, 700 (Minn. 2006), cert. denied, 127 S. Ct. 2985 (U.S. June 18, 2007). 

Two exceptions to the Knaffla rule permit review when (1) the interests of justice require review or (2) a claim is so novel that the legal basis for the appeal was not available on direct appeal.  Perry v. State, 731 N.W.2d 143, 146 (Minn. 2007); see also Minn. Stat. § 590.01, subd. 4 (2006) (codifying similar requirements in 2005 amendment).  An ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claim must be reviewed in the interests of justice if the court requires additional fact-finding to evaluate the merits of the claim.  Schleicher v. State, 718 N.W.2d 440, 447 (Minn. 2006).

            This appeal follows both a direct appeal from conviction and a previous postconviction-relief petition.  Thus, the Knaffla rule will bar Reed’s claims unless an exception applies.

            We conclude, first, that Reed’s argument about legally inconsistent verdicts is barred by the Knaffla rule.  The jury found that Reed was guilty of both second-degree intentional murder and second-degree felony murder.  Reed claims that these verdicts require the jury to find both that he acted with intent and without intent.  This argument was directly rejected in State v. Cole, 542 N.W.2d 43, 51 (Minn. 1996).  Second-degree felony murder does not require a finding that the defendant acted without intent.  Id.  Therefore, Reed’s claim does not require review in the interests of justice and his claim is not novel.  Because neither exception to the Knaffla rule applies, Reed’s claim of legally inconsistent verdicts is barred.

            We conclude that Reed’s second claim—ineffective assistance of counsel—is also barred.  The argument is not novel, but the interests of justice would require review if additional evidence were necessary to evaluate his claim.  Schleicher, 718 N.W.2d at 447.  Nonetheless, because Reed’s allegations would not provide the basis for a successful ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claim, the district court correctly concluded that Reed’s claim was barred by the Knaffla rule.

            A defendant is denied effective assistance of counsel if (1) the lawyer’s representation fell below an objective standard of reasonableness and (2) a reasonable probability exists that the outcome would have been different but for the lawyer’s errors.  Zenanko v. State, 688 N.W.2d 861, 865 (Minn. 2004).  We may “address the two prongs of the test in any order and may dispose of the claim on one prong without analyzing the other.”  Schleicher, 718 N.W.2d at 447.

            Reed claims that the prosecutor and his attorney threatened a witness with prosecution if the witness testified.  The affidavits state that the witness was “told” of “possible charges” if he testified.  But even if further evidence revealed that his attorney’s actions fell below an objective standard of reasonableness, Reed would not be able to establish a reasonable probability that the outcome of his trial would have been different.  The evidence against Reed—which included testimony by numerous eyewitnesses and Reed’s confession—was overwhelming.  Therefore, Reed cannot establish that he was denied effective assistance of counsel, and his claim fails on its merits.

            Because additional fact-finding was not required to evaluate Reed’s ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claim, the interests of justice did not require review of Reed’s argument.  Therefore, no exception to the Knaffla rule applies and Reed’s ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claim is barred by the Knaffla rule.