from the Iowa District Court for Johnson County, Paul L.
Matthews appeals from the district court's denial of his
application for postconviction relief.
C. Meyer, Cedar Rapids, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Louis S. Sloven, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
Considered by Mullins, P.J., and Bower and McDonald, JJ.
MULLINS, Presiding Judge.
Matthews appeals from the district court's denial of his
application for postconviction relief (PCR), asserting
numerous claims of ineffective assistance of trial,
appellate, and PCR counsel. We generally review PCR
proceedings for correction of errors at law. Nguyen v.
State, 878 N.W.2d 744, 750 (Iowa 2016). However, when an
applicant raises constitutional claims, such as claims of
ineffective assistance of counsel, we apply a de novo review.
See id.; Bonilla v. State, 791 N.W.2d 697,
699 (Iowa 2010).
February 20, 2008, the State charged Matthews by trial
information with first-degree kidnapping, a class
"A" felony; second-degree kidnapping, a class
"B" felony; first-degree sexual abuse, a class
"A" felony; and first-degree burglary, a class
"B" felony. Matthews waived his right to a jury
trial, and trial to the bench commenced on February 17, 2009.
The district court convicted Matthews of first-degree
kidnapping, second-degree kidnapping, and first-degree
burglary after finding the charge of first-degree sexual
abuse was a lesser-included offense of first-degree
kidnapping and merging the two offenses. The court sentenced
Matthews to life in prison without the possibility of parole
for the crime of kidnapping in the first degree, plus two
twenty-five-year terms of incarceration for the crimes of
kidnapping in the second degree and burglary in the first
degree, all to run consecutively. Matthews appealed, and we
affirmed his convictions and sentences. See generally
State v. Matthews, No. 09-0743, 2010 WL 3894455 (Iowa
Ct. App. Oct. 6, 2010).
February 17, 2011, Matthews filed a pro se application for
PCR. The court appointed Matthews counsel, followed by a
succession of several appointed counsel. Matthews
subsequently amended his application several times and
submitted exhibits and a pro se pretrial memorandum. The
district court dismissed Matthews's application on
November 12, 2015.
appeals, arguing his trial counsel rendered ineffective
assistance in failing to: (1) properly challenge the
sufficiency of the evidence of the specific intent and
confinement or removal elements of the charge of first-degree
kidnapping, (2) investigate or consult with medical experts
regarding the State's evidence showing serious injury,
(3) object to hearsay statements made to the sexual assault
nurse examiner (SANE), (4) improperly agreeing to admit the
deposition testimony of the emergency room doctor and
effectively waiving his right to confront the witness at
trial, (5) request a jury instruction on kidnapping for
ransom as an alternative theory for second-degree kidnapping,
(6) file a motion in arrest of judgment, (7) investigate his
prior association with the complaining witness, (8)
investigate a possible intoxication defense, and (9) impeach
witnesses who claimed they saw Matthews in possession of a
gun prior to the assault. He further complains his appellate
counsel provided ineffective assistance in failing to raise
the above issues and raise claims the trial court abused its
discretion and improperly weighed the evidence. Additionally,
he claims the cumulative errors of his trial and appellate
counsel warrant a new trial.
admits his claim regarding the sufficiency of the evidence of
confinement or removal was not addressed in the PCR
court's order. Matthews failed to file a motion to amend
or enlarge the court's findings pursuant to Iowa Rule of
Civil Procedure 1.904(2); thus, error has not been preserved
on this issue. See Meier v. Senecaut, 641 N.W.2d
532, 539 (Iowa 2002) (finding a rule 1.904(2) motion is
"necessary to preserve error 'when the district
court fails to resolve an issue, claim, or other
legal theory properly submitted for adjudication'"
also admits his claim that trial counsel provided ineffective
assistance by failing to object to the inadmissible hearsay
testimony of the SANE nurse who examined the complaining
witness after the kidnapping and assault was not raised
before the PCR court. Thus, Matthews recognizes this issue has
not been preserved for our review and argues PCR counsel
rendered ineffective assistance in failing to raise the claim
below. Matthews also argues PCR counsel rendered ineffective
assistance in failing to obtain and consult a medical expert
with regard to his complaints surrounding the serious-injury
element of the charges of first-degree kidnapping and
first-degree sexual abuse.
claims are an exception to the traditional error-preservation
rules." State v. Fountain, 786 N.W.2d 260, 263
(Iowa 2010). To succeed on an
ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claim, Matthews must prove
"by a preponderance of the evidence: '(1) his trial
counsel failed to perform an essential duty, and (2) this
failure resulted in prejudice.'" State v.
Thorndike, 860 N.W.2d 316, 320 (Iowa 2015) (quoting
State v. Adams, 810 N.W.2d 365, 372 (Iowa 2012));
accord Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 687
(1984). Failure to prove either prong is fatal to the claim.
See Everett v. State, 789 N.W.2d 151, 159 (Iowa
2010). In examining Matthews's claims, we
presume counsel performed his or her duties competently.
See Thorndike, 860 N.W.2d at 320.
conclude Matthews has failed to prove a reasonable
probability that, without any alleged errors of trial,
appellate, or PCR counsel, "the result of the
proceeding[s] would have been different."
Strickland, 466 U.S. at 694. Thus, he cannot show he
was prejudiced by any ...