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Thompson v. State

Court of Appeals of Iowa

August 2, 2017

COLLIN THOMPSON, Applicant-Appellant,
v.
STATE OF IOWA, Respondent-Appellee.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Pottawattamie County, Jeffrey J. Larson, Judge.

         Collin Thompson appeals the district court's denial of his application for postconviction relief. AFFIRMED.

          Marti D. Nerenstone of Nerenstone Law, Council Bluffs, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Louis S. Sloven, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Vogel and Vaitheswaran, JJ.

          VAITHESWARAN, Judge.

         Collin Thompson pled guilty to first-degree burglary, second-degree robbery, third-degree kidnapping, and two counts of aggravated assault while displaying a dangerous weapon, in connection with the robbery of a Council Bluffs mall. Two years later, he filed a postconviction relief application and amended application alleging a variety of errors. The district court denied the application on a stipulated record. Thompson appealed.

         Thompson contends (1) his trial and/or postconviction attorney was ineffective in failing to (A) "provide him with all materials related to his case"; (B) challenge the factual basis for two counts of aggravated assault rather than a single count; (C) seek merger of the assault and second-degree robbery convictions; (D) challenge the factual basis for the kidnapping charge; (E) "demand[] [the] preparation" of a PSI report; and (F) have the postconviction relief hearing reported; (2) the district court abused its discretion in failing to "provide explicit and detailed reasons for the imposition of consecutive sentences"; and (3) cumulative errors mandate reversal.

         I. Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

         To prevail on his ineffective assistance claims, Thompson must show (1) counsel breached an essential duty and (2) prejudice resulted. Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 687 (1984). If the court concludes Thompson "has failed to establish either of these elements, [the court] need not address the remaining element." State v. Thorndike, 860 N.W.2d 316, 320 (Iowa 2015).

         A. Failure to Provide Materials

         Thompson contends his "constitutional rights were violated by the failure of defense counsel to provide him with all materials related to his case." Specifically, Thompson claims his trial attorney did not give him (1) a copy of additional minutes of testimony and (2) transcripts of two depositions. On our de novo review, we are convinced Thompson could not prove a breach or prejudice.

         Thompson's trial attorney testified that it was the "standard practice" of her office to send or hand-deliver clients a copy of the original trial information and the additional minutes of testimony. As for the depositions, she noted Thompson "was present through all the depositions."

         Thompson suggests his presence was insufficient. He asserts he needed the deposition transcripts to highlight "discrepancies between the sworn statements given during the depositions and the unsworn statements asserted in the various minutes of testimony." But as his trial attorney pointed out, "It is often the case that in deposition there are contradictions to what the Minutes of Testimony say." She elaborated, "[T]he reason we take depositions is because sometimes the minutes do not accurately·reflect what a witness will actually say occurred." She expressed little concern "about exactly the discrepancies in the minutes, " focusing instead on the contents of the deposition. Given counsel's practice of providing and discussing ...


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