Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Woodbury County, Duane E. Hoffmeyer, Judge.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Doyle, J.
Joseph Dailey seeks post-conviction relief from his conviction for homicide by vehicle. AFFIRMED.
Heard by Eisenhauer, C.J., and Doyle and Bower, JJ.
Joseph Dailey seeks postconviciton relief (PCR) from his conviction for homicide by vehicle. He contends his trial counsel was ineffective in preparing and arguing Dailey's defense theory. Upon our de novo review, we affirm.
I. Scope and Standards of Review.
We normally review post-conviction proceedings for errors of law. Everett v. State, 789 N.W.2d 151, 155 (Iowa 2010). But when there is an alleged denial of constitutional rights, such as effective assistance of counsel, we review the claim de novo. Id. To prevail on an ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claim, a defendant must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that (1) counsel failed to perform an essential duty and (2) prejudice resulted. Id. at 158. A reviewing court need not engage in both prongs of the analysis if one is lacking. Id. at 159.
II. Background Facts and Proceedings.
In 2008, a jury found Dailey guilty of homicide by vehicle, in violation of Iowa Code section 707.6A(1) (2007). Dailey appealed thereafter, and we summarized the facts in our decision as follows:
At approximately 11:00 p.m. on August 11th, 2007, Dailey was driving Danny Peterson home from a Sioux City bar. Just a few blocks from the bar, Dailey crashed into another vehicle and Peterson was killed in the accident. Dailey's blood alcohol content . . . was .212.
. . . On March 18, 2008, a jury trial began. The State presented evidence that at the time of the accident, the night was clear and dry, the intersection was regulated with a marked turning lane and working stoplights, and the brakes on Dailey's vehicle were in proper working order. [The other car's driver] testified that she was stopped at an intersection in the left-hand turn lane. Just prior to the crash, she had no indication of an approaching vehicle, except for a quick flash of light in her left or driver's side mirror. Before she had time to react, Dailey smashed into the rear driver's side of her vehicle. As a result of the impact, both vehicles spun around.
One of the first officers on the scene testified that Dailey was in the driver's seat of his vehicle. He was initially unconscious and breathing, but eventually regained consciousness. However, Peterson was unconscious and not breathing. Peterson's legs were in the passenger compartment but his upper body was laying on the seat, towards the driver. Because the passenger side of the vehicle was mangled around Peterson, emergency workers needed to use the "jaws of life" to get him out of the vehicle. The majority of damage to [the other driver's] vehicle was on the rear driver's side and the majority of damage to Dailey's vehicle was on the front passenger side.
Both Dailey and Peterson were taken to a hospital, where Peterson was pronounced dead. Dailey suffered a gash to his head, requiring the need for twenty staples. Another officer described Dailey as agitated and not cooperative with hospital staff or officers. Dailey also resisted being put in handcuffs and threatened to kick an officer. It took four officers to escort Dailey from the building.
Dailey testified that he did not believe he was drunk when he left the bar and that he was not impaired to any extent to drive. He claimed that just prior to the accident, Peterson grabbed the steering wheel and made "some remark about '[l]et's go this way' and kind of laughed." Dailey attempted to correct the path of the vehicle, which he claimed explained his vehicle "swooping . . . to the left." Dailey could not remember whether he applied his brakes. However, Dailey did not tell officers of this version of events nor did he tell his own accident reconstruction expert until the night before the trial.
State v. Dailey, No. 08--0909, 2009 WL 1492698, *1 (Iowa Ct. App. May 29, 2009). We affirmed his conviction on appeal, rejecting Dailey's claims of error as to the sufficiency of the evidence and his two ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claims concerning the jury instructions in the case. Id. at *1-*4. In concluding that there was sufficient ...