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Brown v. State

Court of Appeals of Iowa

March 8, 2017

JASON A. BROWN, Applicant-Appellant,
v.
STATE OF IOWA, Respondent-Appellee.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Jackson County, Mark Smith, Judge.

         Jason Brown appeals the district court decision denying his application for postconviction relief.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Darrel Mullins, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

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

          BOWER, Judge.

         Jason Brown appeals the district court's decision denying his application for postconviction relief from his conviction for first-degree robbery. Finding Brown's trial counsel was not ineffective, we affirm.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings

         Brown was convicted of first-degree robbery, in violation of Iowa Code section 711.2 (2009). Brown and another man entered a bank, threatened the teller with a gun, and stole more than $45, 000. Fingerprints were left on the bank door and a bag left behind by the men. These fingerprints were analyzed and found to match Brown. Several witnesses were able to identify Brown from the scene and from a gas station near the bank. A green SUV with Wisconsin license plates was seen near the bank stopped at the gas station, and two men matching the appearance of the bank robbers exited the vehicle. Carisha Turner, a friend of Brown's, was the registered owner of a green SUV, and two witnesses positively identified the car. Evidence recovered from Turner's house included documents related to two large cash transactions for the purchase and repair of a new car for Brown.

         Brown was identified as a suspect and located in Wisconsin, where he was incarcerated on unrelated charges. A warrant for his arrest was issued by Iowa authorities on September 15, 2010, and served on September 16, 2010, by Wisconsin authorities. Brown waived extradition to Iowa on October 12. On November 4, Brown posted bond on the Wisconsin charges and Wisconsin authorities notified Iowa officials on November 20 that Brown had waived extradition. Brown was taken to Iowa on December 14.

         Brown claimed he was in Wisconsin at the time of the robbery, but his fingerprints were found on the door to the bank and cell phone records placed him in the area of the robbery. Brown also claimed the car he paid $2300 for in cash was bought from a friend on a payment plan. Cedric Dixon, who sold the car to Brown, testified he never knew Brown before the transaction, which occurred five days after the bank robbery, and the car was not paid for in installments. Additionally, Brown paid $1700 in cash to Midas for a transmission repair for this same car.

         Brown was convicted, and appealed the conviction, which was affirmed. State v. Brown, No. 11-1478, 2012 WL 3590173, at *2 (Iowa Ct. App. Aug. 22, 2012). Brown now claims he received ineffective assistance of counsel as his attorney failed to move to dismiss the trial information as untimely filed. He also claims defense counsel was ineffective for failing to challenge the introduction of "known" fingerprints labeled with his name, without a proper foundation and Brown further claims documents from Verizon Wireless regarding his location were inadmissible hearsay. The district court denied his application. Brown now appeals.

         II. Standard of Review

         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. "If the claim lacks prejudice, it can be decided on that ground alone without deciding whether the attorney performed deficiently." Id. Both elements must be proved by a preponderance of the evidence. Jones v. State, 479 N.W.2d 265, 272 (Iowa 1991). Regarding prejudice, "the proper standard requires the defendant to show that there is a reasonable probability that, but for counsel's unprofessional errors, the result of the proceeding would have been different. A reasonable probability is a probability sufficient to undermine confidence in the outcome." Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 669 (1984).

         III. Ineffective ...


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