Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Story County, Timothy J. Finn, Judge.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Huitink, S.J.
Applicant appeals the district court decision denying his request for post-conviction relief from his conviction for second-degree sexual abuse. AFFIRMED.
Considered by Mullins, P.J., Bower, J., and Huitink, S.J.*fn1
I. Background Facts & Proceedings.
Bryon Gamble was charged with six counts of sexual abuse in the second degree and one count of dissemination and exhibition of obscene material to a minor. Gamble was at that time living with a woman, and the victim of all of the offenses was the woman's ten-year-old daughter.
Pursuant to a plea agreement, Gamble entered a guilty plea to one count of second-degree sexual abuse, in violation of Iowa Code section 709.3(2) (2007). He was sentenced to a term of imprisonment not to exceed twenty-five years. He was also ordered to a serve a special sentence pursuant to section 903B.1. Gamble's direct appeal was dismissed as frivolous under Iowa Rule of Appellate Procedure 6.1005.
On February 16, 2010, Gamble filed an application for post-conviction relief, claiming he had received ineffective assistance of counsel and the State had engaged in prosecutorial misconduct. After a hearing, the district court denied his request for post-conviction relief, finding his arguments were without merit. Gamble appeals the decision denying his request for post-conviction relief.
II. Ineffective Assistance.
We review claims of ineffective assistance of counsel de novo. Ennenga v. State, 812 N.W.2d 696, 701 (Iowa 2012). To establish a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, an applicant must show (1) the attorney failed to perform an essential duty and (2) prejudice resulted to the extent it denied applicant a fair trial. State v. Carroll, 767 N.W.2d 638, 641 (Iowa 2008). "In determining whether an attorney failed in performance of an essential duty, we avoid second-guessing reasonable trial strategy." Everett v. State, 789 N.W.2d 151, 158 (Iowa 2010). In order to show prejudice, Gamble must show that, but for counsel's breach of duty, he would not have pleaded guilty. Ennenga, 812 N.W.2d at 708.
A. Gamble contends his defense counsel did not effectively review the evidence against him. He claims, although he and defense counsel reviewed a videotape of the victim's statements about Gamble's sexual activities with her, defense counsel never saw drawings the child made or a medical report.*fn2
Although the record indicates counsel was not aware of the items mentioned, there is testimony indicating counsel carefully reviewed the minutes of testimony, including a police report detailing the results of the victim's medical evaluation and drawings made by the victim.
B. Gamble also asserts his defense counsel pressured him to plead guilty because she was planning on changing jobs and wanted to close up his file.*fn3 As the district court found, there was no evidence to support Gamble's assertions other than his own "unsupported statements, suspicions, and innuendo." We agree with the court's conclusion there is no evidence defense counsel pressured Gamble into pleading guilty.
C. Gamble additionally claims defense counsel should have done more to determine his level of understanding about the criminal proceedings. He claims his plea was not voluntary because his medication for depression clouded his thinking. He also points to his limited education and resulting inability to understand the nature of the plea proceedings.
Defense counsel testified she had represented Gamble in other proceedings, she was aware of his level of education, and prior to the guilty plea she discussed his rights and the possible sentence he was facing. She stated she had no indication Gamble had difficulty understanding what she was telling him. We conclude Gamble has failed to show his defense counsel should have done more to determine whether he understood the criminal proceedings. There is no credible evidence to ...