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Rumley v. State

Court of Appeals of Iowa

February 19, 2014

WILLIAM G. RUMLEY JR., Applicant-Appellant,
v.
STATE OF IOWA, Respondent-Appellee

Editorial Note:

This opinion is subject to modification or correction by the court and is not final until the time for rehearing or further review has passed.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Nancy S. Tabor, Judge. Applicant appeals the district court's decision denying his request for postconviction relief from his convictions for delivery of crack cocaine and possession of crack cocaine with intent to deliver.

Steven J. Drahozal of Drahozal Law Office, P.C., Dubuque, for appellant.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Tyler J. Buller, Assistant Attorney General, Anthony Leon, Legal Intern, Michael J. Walton, County Attorney, and Jerry Feuerbach, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee.

Considered by Vogel, P.J., McDonald, J., and Miller, S.J.[*] Tabor, J., takes no part.

OPINION

MILLER, S.J.

William Rumley sought postconviction relief from his convictions for delivery of a controlled substance (cocaine base) and possession of a controlled substance (cocaine base) with intent to deliver. The district court denied his request for postconviction relief. On appeal, Rumley claims he received ineffective assistance because his postconviction counsel did not raise the issue of whether his trial and appellate counsel should have argued that his decision to testify at his criminal trial was not knowing and voluntary. We determine he has not shown he received ineffective assistance counsel and affirm the decision of the district court.

I. Background Facts & Proceedings

On November 14, 2003, undercover officers in Davenport, Iowa, told Willie Butler they wanted to purchase crack cocaine. Butler walked to a nearby home and made contact with William Rumley. Rumley spit something out of his mouth into Butler's hand. Butler walked over to the officer's vehicle and gave them two individually packaged rocks of crack cocaine. The officers gave Butler cash, which he gave Rumley. When Butler left Rumley's home he was arrested. Rumley came out of his home, and he was also arrested. Officers found four individually packaged rocks of crack cocaine in Rumley's mouth and $151 in cash on his person. The transactions between Butler and Rumley were observed by officers and captured on videotape.

Rumley was charged with delivery of a controlled substance (cocaine base), in violation of Iowa Code section 124.401(1)(c) (2003), and possession of a controlled substance (cocaine base) with intent to deliver, in violation of section 124.401(1)(c). The State also alleged Rumley was an habitual offender.

The case proceeded to a jury trial. After the State presented its case, the court told defense counsel that while the court was in recess over a lunch break he should discuss with Rumley whether he was going to testify or not. When court resumed, defense counsel stated, " In discussing this with my client, he has told me just now that he believes he will testify in this case." The court noted Rumley could be questioned about any prior felony conviction.

Rumley testified in his own defense. He stated that what he gave Butler was soap. He testified he and his girlfriend used crack cocaine and the drugs in his possession were for their personal use. He also stated he kept the four rocks of crack cocaine in his mouth because he did not want his girlfriend to have access to them. The jury found Rumley guilty of delivery of crack cocaine and possession of crack cocaine with intent to deliver. He was sentenced as an habitual offender to forty-five years on each count, to be served concurrently.

Rumley appealed his convictions, claiming he received ineffective assistance because his defense counsel did not object on the ground the evidence of his prior felony convictions should have been excluded as more prejudicial than probative. See State v. Rumley, No. 04-0568, 2005 WL 427595, at *1 (Iowa Ct. App. Feb. 24, 2005). We stated, " As the State presented a virtually airtight case and Rumley presented an implausible defense, we conclude there is no reasonable probability of a different outcome had defense counsel raised and prevailed on an objection to the evidence of Rumley's prior drug conviction." [WL] at *2. We determined Rumley had not shown he was prejudiced by ...


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