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State v. Goynes

Supreme Court of Nebraska

April 8, 2016

STATE OF NEBRASKA, APPELLEE,
v.
DAUNTE L. GOYNES, APPELLANT

Appeal from the District Court for Douglas County: Marlon A. Polk, Judge.

Daunte L. Goynes, Pro se.

Douglas J. Peterson, Attorney General, and Nathan A. Liss for appellee.

HEAVICAN, C.J., WRIGHT, CONNOLLY, MILLER-LERMAN, CASSEL, AND STACY, JJ.

OPINION

MILLER-LERMAN, J.

[293 Neb. 289] NATURE OF CASE

Daunte L. Goynes was convicted of murder in the second degree and use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony for the death of Aaron Lofton. Goynes was sentenced to imprisonment for a term of 60 years to life for the murder conviction and a term of 10 to 20 years for the weapon conviction, to be served consecutively. On direct appeal, we affirmed Goynes' convictions and sentences. See State v. Goynes, 278 Neb. 230, 768 N.W.2d 458 (2009).

On August 27, 2012, Goynes filed his first motion for postconviction relief, which the district court for Douglas County denied. On August 28, 2013, we dismissed his appeal to this court in case No. S-13-464.

On February 5, 2015, Goynes filed a second motion for postconviction relief, which the district court denied without holding an evidentiary hearing. The district court thereafter denied Goynes' motion to alter or amend. Goynes appeals. We determine that Goynes' second motion for postconviction relief was barred by the limitation period set forth in the Nebraska Postconviction Act, Neb. Rev. Stat. § 29-3001 et seq. (Reissue 2008 & Cum. Supp. 2014), and therefore, we affirm the district court's order denying Goynes' second motion for postconviction relief.

[293 Neb. 290] STATEMENT OF FACTS

The events underlying Goynes' convictions and sentences involve the shooting death of Lofton. The shooting occurred in February 2007, on the day before Goynes turned 18 years old. In our opinion on direct appeal, we set forth the facts of the case in detail. See State v. Goynes, supra.

After a trial, the jury found Goynes guilty of murder in the second degree and use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony. Goynes was sentenced to imprisonment for a term of 60 years to life for the murder conviction and a term of 10 to 20 years for the weapon conviction, to be served consecutively.

Goynes had the same counsel at trial and on direct appeal. Goynes assigned two errors on direct appeal, generally arguing that the trial court erred when it excluded certain evidence and when it denied his motion for a new trial. In our opinion on direct appeal, we found no merit to Goynes' assignments of error and affirmed his convictions and sentences. See State v. Goynes, supra.

On August 27, 2012, Goynes filed his first motion for postconviction relief, claiming that his counsel at trial and on appeal was ineffective for various reasons. In his first motion for postconviction relief, Goynes did not allege that his sentence was unconstitutional pursuant to Miller v. Alabama, __ U.S. __, 132 S.Ct. 2455, 183 L.Ed.2d 407 (2012), which had been decided within the year preceding the filing of his first motion for postconviction relief.

On January 23, 2013, the district court filed an order in which it denied Goynes' first postconviction motion without holding an evidentiary hearing. On August 28, 2013, his appeal to this court was dismissed in case No. S-13-464.

On February 5, 2015, Goynes filed his second motion for postconviction relief. This is the motion at issue in this appeal. In his second motion for postconviction relief, Goynes claimed that his constitutional right to be free from cruel or unusual punishment was violated because the sentencing court failed to hold an individualized hearing regarding possible [293 Neb. 291] mitigating factors based on his juvenile status and because he received the functional equivalent of a life sentence without parole. Goynes further alleged that his constitutional rights to effective counsel and due process were violated because his attorney failed to request, and the trial court failed to give, a jury instruction regarding Goynes' culpability to commit second degree murder because of his juvenile status and mental and emotional development at the time of the crime. On appeal, Goynes has abandoned his claims with respect to the jury instructions.

On February 17, 2015, the district court filed an order in which it denied Goynes' second motion for postconviction relief without conducting an evidentiary hearing. The district court determined that Goynes' motion was barred by the limitation period found in the Nebraska Postconviction Act, § 29-3001(4), which provides:

A one-year period of limitation shall apply to the filing of a verified motion for postconviction relief. The one-year limitation period shall run from the later of:
(a) The date the judgment of conviction became final by the conclusion of a direct appeal or the expiration of the ...

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