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Robinson v. State

Court of Appeals of Iowa

July 6, 2017

ANTHONY DARNELL ROBINSON, Applicant-Appellant,
v.
STATE OF IOWA, Respondent-Appellee.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Marlita A. Greve, Judge.

         Applicant appeals the denial of his second postconviction-relief application.

          Les M. Blair III of Blair & Fitzsimmons, P.C., Dubuque, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Genevieve Reinkoester, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Potterfield and Bower, JJ.

          POTTERFIELD, Judge.

         Anthony Robinson appeals the denial of his second postconviction-relief application. He argues his first postconviction counsel was ineffective for failing to file a motion to enlarge or expand the postconviction court's ruling that appellate counsel should have raised the issue that an impeachment instruction based on inconsistent testimony was warranted at trial. We affirm.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         Anthony Robinson's posticonviction appeal arises from a 2005 conviction for first-degree robbery and willful injury. At trial, Sinh Tran testified about his account of the events.[1] He stated the day of the robbery he was on the way home from a friend's house when he stopped at the store to buy some cigarettes, and Robinson approached him for a ride. Tran stated that Robinson got into the car and asked him for money. When Tran said that he did not have any money, Robinson took out a knife, hit Tran multiple times, stabbed him, and took his wallet, which had fourteen or fifteen dollars in it. The police arrived, and Tran was later treated for his injuries.

         Officer Scott Crow testified at trial about his conversations with Tran regarding the events. According to Crow, Tran told him he was coming from home when he stopped to buy cigarettes. He also testified that Tran stated he wanted to leave the scene of the crime, and Robinson took seventeen dollars.

         At the close of trial, Robinson's counsel objected to the court's deletion of a proposed instruction for "impeachment of prior under-oath statements" based on the inconsistencies between Tran's and Crow's testimony about what Tran told Crow after the attack. The court overruled the objection, explaining:

The court's recollection of the testimony is that no formal impeachment by prior sworn statement occurred in the testimony of Sinh Tran. I do know that counsel for the defendant did make reference to the deposition, however I don't believe that there was formal impeachment of Mr. Tran's testimony by his previous deposition testimony, and that's the reason why the court did not submit that instruction.

         Following the trial, Robinson was convicted of first-degree robbery and willful injury. Robinson appealed his conviction raising multiple arguments that are not at issue in this appeal. A panel of our court affirmed Robinson's conviction. See State v. Robinson, No. 06-0050, 2007 WL 257623, at *1 (Iowa Ct. App. Jan. 31, 2007).

         In 2007, Robinson filed a pro se application for postconviction relief arguing, in part, appellate counsel was ineffective for failing to argue the trial court should have issued an impeachment instruction based on the inconsistent statements to law enforcement. Robinson then secured court-appointed counsel and filed an amended postconviction-relief application. The postconviction court denied Robinson's claims. Robinson appealed, arguing postconviction counsel was ineffective for failing to have the postconviction court rule on his claim that appellate counsel was ineffective for failing to argue an impeachment instruction was required at the trial level. A panel of our court preserved the argument ...


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