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Vasquez v. State

Court of Appeals of Iowa

April 5, 2017

GABRIEL VASQUEZ, Applicant-Appellant,
v.
STATE OF IOWA, Respondent-Appellee.

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

         An applicant appeals the district court's denial of his application for postconviction relief. AFFIRMED.

          Mark C. Smith, State Appellant Defender, and Stephan J. Japuntich, Assistant Appellant Defendant, for appellant.

          Gabriel Vasquez, Newton, pro se.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Kyle P. Hanson, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Considered by Danilson, C.J., Vaitheswaran, J., and Scott, S.J. [*]

          SCOTT, Senior Judge.

         Gabriel Vasquez was convicted, following a jury trial, of two counts of sexual abuse in the second degree and one count of sexual abuse in the third degree related to his abuse of his daughter. He was sentenced to two twenty-five-year terms, to be served consecutively, and one ten-year term, to be served concurrently with the first two counts. He appealed his conviction, which this court affirmed. See State v. Vasquez, No. 10-0085, 2011 WL 2089778, at *5 (Iowa Ct. App. May 25, 2011). The facts of the case are adequately outlined in our prior appellate decision and need not be repeated here. See id. at *1-2. Following his appeal, Vasquez filed an application for postconviction relief (PCR), which the district court denied after holding an evidentiary hearing. Vasquez now appeals the district court's denial of his PCR application.

         Through counsel, Vasquez challenges the district court's determination he failed to prove trial counsel was ineffective in failing to move to suppress the video of his confession based on promissory leniency and trial counsel was ineffective in not requesting a limiting instruction on the use of the video. Counsel also claims the PCR court erred in not addressing all of Vasquez's pro se claims. Vasquez also filed a pro se appellate brief in this matter, asserting the PCR court should have granted him relief because his trial counsel was ineffective in not moving to suppress the video of his confession based on promissory leniency and a lack of voluntariness, the PCR court erred in denying his claim that his trial counsel was ineffective in not securing the complaining witness's mental health records, the PCR court erred in not considering his claim of prosecutorial misconduct, and his PCR trial counsel was ineffective in the preparation and presentation of his PCR action resulting in structural error. We will address each claim in turn.

         I. Police Interview Video.

         During trial, the State played for the jurors a portion of the police interview video wherein Vasquez admits to the conduct alleged by the complaining witness. The parties disputed the admissibility of this video during the criminal proceedings and in the prior appeal, and this court determined the district court correctly denied Vasquez's motion to suppress the video, which was based on the police officer's failure to give Vasquez Miranda warnings. Id. at *2-3. We held:

[W]e concur in the district court's conclusion that a reasonable person in Vasquez's position would not believe he was in custody. Vasquez was informed he was not under arrest, that he was free to leave, and that he would be able to return to work. He drove himself to the police station and drove back to work after the interview. Because he was not in custody, there was no requirement that Miranda warnings be given.

         Id. at *3. Vasquez also claimed in the prior appeal that the statements he made in the video should have been suppressed because they were not voluntary but were made "in exchange for a promise of custodial leniency." Id. Because this claim was not made in the motion to suppress and was not addressed by the district court, we determined the claim was not preserved for our review. Id.

         In this appeal from the court's denial of his PCR application, Vasquez claims the court erred in concluding he failed to prove his claim that his trial counsel was ineffective in not seeking to suppress his statements in the video based on promissory leniency. He also claims his trial counsel should have requested a jury instruction directing the jury that they could only consider Vasquez's statements on the video, not the questions or statements by the interviewing officer. Finally, in ...


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