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Roby v. State

Court of Appeal of Iowa

September 18, 2013

CHRISTOPHER LEE ROBY, Applicant-Appellant,
v.
STATE OF IOWA, Respondent-Appellee.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Richard D. Stochl, Judge.

A postconviction relief applicant contends postconviction counsel was ineffective in failing to assert that his trial attorney was ineffective in handling an alibi defense.

Joel Baxter of Wild, Baxter & Sand, P.C., Guthrie Center, for appellant.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Richard J. Bennett, Assistant Attorney General, Thomas J. Ferguson, County Attorney, and Kimberly Griffith, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee State.

Considered by Eisenhauer, C.J., and Vaitheswaran and Doyle, JJ.

VAITHESWARAN, J.

Christopher Lee Roby appeals the denial of his postconviction relief application. He contends postconviction counsel was ineffective in failing to assert that his trial attorney was ineffective in handling an alibi defense.

I. Background Proceedings

The State charged Roby with four counts of sexual abuse against a child. Each count specified a range of dates coinciding with either the child's or Roby's age. Roby notified the court of his intent to raise an alibi defense to the period covered by the third count as well as one day of the period covered by the fourth count.

At trial, the child testified the abuse occurred over several years, "[a]lmost every time" Roby visited their house. Roby's attorney vigorously cross-examined her about the extent of the abuse as well as inconsistencies between her trial testimony and earlier statements. He did not present defense witnesses.

A jury found Roby guilty of one count of second-degree sexual abuse occurring between May 1999 and July 17, 2000, and one count of third-degree sexual abuse occurring between July 18, 2000, and December 19, 2001. On direct appeal, this court affirmed Roby's judgment and sentence. State v. Roby, No. 05-0630, 2006 WL 206124, at *5 (Iowa Ct. App. Sept. 21, 2006).

Roby filed an application for postconviction relief. The district court denied the application following an evidentiary hearing, and Roby appealed.

II. Analysis

Roby specifically contends his postconviction relief attorney should have challenged the trial attorney's failure "to narrow any of the four time frames so he could present an adequate defense to each charge." In his view, this omission impaired his alibi defense and his ...


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