January 11, 2017
KING P. FLOWERS, Applicant-Appellant,
STATE OF IOWA, Respondent-Appellee.
from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Stuart P.
applicant appeals the district court's denial of his
application for postconviction relief from his conviction for
possession of a firearm as a felon. AFFIRMED.
E. Dusthimer, Davenport, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Martha E. Trout, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Potterfield and Bower,
Flowers was found guilty of possession of a firearm as a
convicted felon on May 6, 2013, in violation of Iowa Code
section 724.26 (2013). Flowers filed an application for
postconviction relief on August 28, 2014, and amended the
application on December 3, 2014, and July 6, 2015. In a
separate motion, Flowers sought to have counsel removed. The
district court denied Flowers's motion to remove counsel.
A hearing was held on the application for postconviction
relief, which application was denied on November 23. During
the hearing, the district court again refused to allow
Flowers to proceed pro se.
appeals the district court's denial of his ability to act
pro se during the postconviction hearing. He also claims the
ruling resulted in a denial of his Sixth Amendment right of
self-representation and his postconviction counsel was
ineffective for failing to pursue his motion to remove
ordinarily review postconviction relief proceedings for
errors at law." Love v. State, 543 N.W.2d 621,
623 (Iowa Ct. App. 1995) (citations omitted). Claims of
ineffective assistance of counsel are reviewed de novo.
Ledezma v. State, 626 N.W.2d 134, 141 (Iowa 2001).
"To prevail on a claim of ineffective assistance of
counsel, the [defendant] must demonstrate both ineffective
assistance and prejudice." Id. at 142.
supreme court has held the district court has
"discretion to deny a postconviction relief
applicant's request to dispense with counsel."
Leonard v. State, 461 N.W.2d 465, 468 (Iowa 1990).
Additionally, "the sixth amendment applies only to
criminal prosecutions and so has no application to
postconviction relief proceedings." Id. (citing
State v. Wright, 456 N.W.2d 661, 664-65 (Iowa
1990)). Therefore, Flowers's claim his constitutional
right to represent himself was violated fails as that right
did not apply to the current case. Similarly, Flowers's
counsel at his postconviction hearing could not have been
ineffective as "[c]ounsel cannot fail to perform an
essential duty by merely failing to make a meritless
objection." See State v. Bearse, 748 N.W.2d
211, 215 (Iowa 2008). Pursuant to Iowa Court Rule
21.26(1)(a), (c), and (e), we affirm the district court.