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White v. State

Court of Appeal of Iowa

October 2, 2013

ROBERT J. WHITE, Applicant-Appellant,
v.
STATE OF IOWA, Respondent-Appellee.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Douglas F. Staskal, Judge.

Robert White appeals the district court order denying his application for postconviction relief.

Gary Dickey of Dickey & Campbell Law Firm, P.L.C., Des Moines, for appellant.

Robert White, Des Moines, appellant pro se.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Bridget A. Chambers, Assistant Attorney General, John Sarcone, County Attorney, and Mark Taylor, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee.

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

BOWER, J.

Robert White appeals the district court ruling denying his application for postconviction relief. White argues his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to depose or question the affiant of a search warrant and for failing to effectively cross-examine a key witness. Because we find counsel was not ineffective, we affirm.

I. Background Facts and Proceedings

On September 23, 2008, Robert White was charged with conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance as a second offender, possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, and failure to possess a drug tax stamp, each with the sentencing enhancement of being a habitual offender. A jury convicted him of all three charges and being a habitual offender. White was sentenced to an indeterminate forty-five-year prison term.

Following his conviction White appealed and challenged the district court's denial of his motion to suppress and motion in limine.[1] See State v. White, No. 09-1463, 2011 WL 22587, *2 (Iowa Ct. App. Jan. 20, 2011). On direct appeal we held White had failed to show the alleged inaccurate statements in the search warrant were made knowingly or with a reckless disregard for the truth. His application for postconviction relief raises similar arguments and attempts to remedy his failure on direct appeal.

The facts underlying White's conviction stem from a conspiracy between White and Sam Herrera to transport drugs from El Paso, Texas to Des Moines, Iowa. The conspiracy began when Herrera was given a suitcase containing marijuana. Herrera purchased a ticket and boarded a bus, transporting the drugs to Denver, Colorado, and then boarded a subsequent bus to Des Moines. Along the way Herrera and White communicated about Herrera's travels. The men agreed to meet at the Des Moines bus station.[2] While the bus was stopped in Omaha, Nebraska, Herrera's suspicious behavior drew the attention of law enforcement who received permission to search Herrera's bag and discovered marijuana. After agreeing to assist law enforcement, Herrera was given the bag with a smaller quantity of marijuana and transported to a rest stop where he was reunited with the bus. Herrera then phoned White and informed him he was nearing Des Moines. Upon arriving Herrera located White's vehicle and placed the bag containing the marijuana inside. He then told White he needed to use the restroom, and following law enforcement directions, left the vehicle. Law enforcement then arrested White. Officers obtained a search warrant for White's home where they discovered a large quantity of cash, jewelry, and a currency counter.

Prior to trial White filed a motion to suppress based upon alleged defects in the warrant application used to search his home. White argued the application contained two inaccuracies. First, the warrant stated Herrera told White "here it is" when he placed the bag containing the marijuana in White's vehicle. Second, the warrant stated White took control of the bag and moved it within the vehicle after Herrera departed. The district court determined the warrant was supported by probable cause even if the alleged untrue statements were excluded from the application. On appeal, we determined it was unnecessary to examine probable cause because White had failed to show the falsities were knowing or reckless. White, 2011 WL ...


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