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Dantzler v. State

Court of Appeals of Iowa

June 7, 2017

ANTONIO DANTZLER, Applicant-Appellant,
v.
STATE OF IOWA, Respondent-Appellee.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, George L. Stigler, Judge.

         The applicant appeals the district court decision denying his request for postconviction relief from his convictions on two counts of first-degree robbery, assault while participating in a felony, and possession of a firearm as a felon. AFFIRMED.

          John J. Wolfe of Wolfe Law Office, Clinton, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Thomas E. Bakke, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Considered by Mullins, P.J., and Bower and McDonald, JJ. Tabor, J., takes no part.

          BOWER, Judge.

         Antonio Dantzler appeals the district court decision denying his request for postconviction relief from his convictions on two counts of first-degree robbery, assault while participating in a felony, and possession of a firearm as a felon. We find Dantzler has not shown he received ineffective assistance based on his claims defense counsel did not properly advise him about the consequences if he decided to testify at his criminal trial and postconviction counsel did not develop the record to show he was prejudiced by the conduct of defense counsel regarding DNA evidence. We affirm the decision of the district court.

         I. Background Facts & Proceedings

         The following facts were set out in Dantzler's direct appeal:

On the afternoon of June 11, 2008, a Prime Mart convenience store and Dollar General store in Waterloo were robbed. Witnesses to the robberies reported the incidents by calling 911. Patrol officer, Brad Walter, testified that he responded to a call from dispatch reporting that suspects of the robbery fled in a dark colored SUV. As Walter drove toward the Dollar General store, he saw a black SUV with passengers matching the witnesses' description of the suspects. When Walter turned on his lights to perform an investigative stop of the SUV, a chase ensued. The SUV crashed into a house and the driver and passenger fled on foot through a residential neighborhood. Dantzler was arrested when a resident alerted officers that he was sitting on her front steps, she did not know him, and he matched the description of the suspects.

State v. Dantzler, No. 09-1363, 2010 WL 3155229, at *1 (Iowa Ct. App. Aug. 11, 2010).

         Dantzler was charged with two counts of first-degree robbery, assault while participating in a felony, and possession of a firearm as a felon. The evidence against Dantzler included a white cloth found in the SUV. Video evidence showed one of the perpetrators used a white cloth to cover his face during the robberies. "The white cloth was tested for DNA and the test found that Dantzler was a possible contributor to the profiles found." Dantzler v. State, No. 11-1586, 2012 WL 4513910, at *3 (Iowa Ct. App. Oct. 3, 2012). "The test concluded, 'Assuming more than one contributor, approximately 1 out of 100, 000 unrelated individuals for [the first sample] and 1 out of 8000 unrelated individuals for [the second sample] would be included as possible contributors to these mixture of profiles.'" Id. Dantzler did not testify at his criminal trial. The jury found him guilty of the charges against him. Dantzler's convictions were affirmed on appeal. Dantzler, 2010 WL 3155229, at *5.

         Dantzler filed an application for postconviction relief on January 22, 2013. He claimed defense counsel misadvised him on whether to testify during his criminal trial. He also claimed defense counsel should have objected to the introduction of DNA evidence by a report, rather than through the testimony of an analyst, and the defense should have obtained its own DNA expert.[1]

         When asked at the postconviction hearing why he wanted to testify, Dantzler stated, "So I can clear my name." He stated defense counsel advised him not to testify because "the State can bring up your background and they going to chew you up." Dantzler stated defense counsel did not understand the DNA evidence. On the issue of whether he advised Dantzler to testify, defense counsel stated, "[H]e had some prior felonies, you know, items that the State could hit his credibility with I am sure was a concern." Defense counsel stated Dantzler was aware he could be impeached by his prior felonies if he took the stand and it was Dantzler's decision not to testify. On the issue of the DNA evidence, defense counsel stated, "I basically wanted to down ...


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