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Robinson v. State

Court of Appeal of Iowa

July 10, 2013

MICHAEL RAY ROBINSON, Applicant-Appellant,
v.
STATE OF IOWA, Respondent-Appellee.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Patrick R. Grady, Judge.

A postconviction relief applicant contends that he was denied effective assistance of counsel when his attorneys did not object to the composition of the jury pool.

James P. Moriarty of James P. Moriarty, P.C., Cedar Rapids, for appellant.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Thomas H. Miller, Assistant Attorney General, Jerry Vander Sanden, County Attorney, and Susan Nehring, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee State.

Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Vaitheswaran and Bower, JJ.

VAITHESWARAN, J.

Michael Ray Robinson appeals the denial of his claim that trial and postconviction relief counsel "were ineffective in not objecting to the total absence of African Americans or any other minority in the jury panel as a whole or in the sitting jury."

I. Background Proceedings

In 1992, a Linn County jury found Robinson guilty of one count of first-degree kidnapping and two counts of second-degree robbery. On direct appeal, this court affirmed his judgment and sentence, and preserved a claim that his trial attorney was ineffective in failing to argue black persons were systematically excluded from the jury pool. State v. Robinson, No. 92-1145 (Iowa Ct. App. Oct. 5, 1993).

Robinson filed a postconviction relief application raising this ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claim. The district court dismissed the application without an evidentiary hearing. On appeal, this court reversed and remanded "for the purpose of developing a more complete record as to whether trial and postconviction relief counsel were ineffective in failing to raise the issue of systematic exclusion of blacks from the jury pool." Robinson v. State, No. 98-1805, 2000 WL 145043, at *2 (Iowa Ct. App. Feb. 9, 2000).

Following remand, the court again dismissed the application without an evidentiary hearing. Robinson again appealed, and we again reversed and remanded for an evidentiary hearing. Robinson v. State, No. 03-1058, 2004 WL 2386828, at *2 (Iowa Ct. App. Oct. 27, 2004).

The district court ultimately held an evidentiary hearing at which the only claim considered was the composition of the jury pool.[1] Following the hearing, the district court denied the application. This appeal followed.

II. Composition of Jury Panel

As a preliminary matter, Robinson concedes he must prove that counsel failed to perform an essential duty and prejudice resulted from this failure. SeeStrickland v. ...


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