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Duenas v. State

Court of Appeals of Iowa

August 16, 2017

JESUS JAVIER DUENAS, Applicant-Appellant,
v.
STATE OF IOWA, Respondent-Appellee.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Jeanie K. Vaudt, Judge.

         Jesus Duenas appeals the district court's denial of his application for postconviction relief following his 2011 conviction for robbery in the first degree.

          Alexander Smith of Parrish Kruidenier Dunn Boles Gribble Gentry Brown & Bergmann, L.L.P., Des Moines, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Bridget A. Chambers, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Considered by Doyle, P.J., Bower, J., and Mahan, S.J. [*]

          MAHAN, SENIOR JUDGE.

         Jesus Duenas appeals the district court's denial of his application for postconviction relief (PCR) following his 2011 conviction for robbery in the first degree. Upon our review, we affirm the court's order denying Duenas' application for postconviction relief.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings

         In its decision affirming Duenas' conviction on direct appeal, this court set forth the following facts surrounding the incident leading to Duenas' charge:

On January 22, 2011, at approximately 1:20 p.m., Bianca Mireles heard a noise like the door "being forced open" in the basement of her Des Moines home. Bianca looked downstairs and saw two men. The men saw Bianca then "turned around" and "ran." Bianca called her brother, Miguel, to ask if he could come home because she was "scared" and "thought someone had just broken in." Miguel told Bianca to lock the doors and that he was on his way. Bianca stayed on the phone with Miguel as she walked downstairs to lock the door. As Bianca approached the door, she saw "the two guys talking to each other."
The men noticed Bianca. One of the men "pulled out a gun" and pointed it at her. The man with the gun then walked toward Bianca, "grabbed" her by her hair, and "slammed" her head against the wall and a door. The man "threw [Bianca] on the floor" and started kicking her in the face, back, and the back of her head. He then hit her head with the gun, and yelled "to give him money" and "give him [her] phone." The other man went upstairs briefly and then said, "Let's go." The two men then "ran out the same door" in the basement. Des Moines police officers arrived shortly thereafter.
Bianca stated the man with the gun was wearing a "black hoodie" during the robbery. Bianca recognized the man as "Gremlin, " also known as Jesus Duenas. Bianca stated she knew Duenas because he had dated her friend, Cammy. At one point while the man with the gun was beating her, Bianca said, "Gremlin, why are you doing that?" to which the man said "Shut up." The following day, Bianca identified Duenas from a line-up with six photographs shown to her by police. Bianca also identified Duenas at trial. Bianca stated she was "100 percent sure" the man with the gun was Duenas. Bianca could not identify the other man.
Miguel's testimony corroborated Bianca's recollection of the phone call that took place during the course of the robbery. Miguel called the police after his phone call with Bianca disconnected.
During an interview with police, Duenas stated he was working during the time of the robbery and that he had only left work to have lunch at Target. Police contacted Duenas' employer, West Glen, to obtain surveillance records. West Glen Operations Manager Jodi Runge testified that West Glen tracks entry into most buildings with records of digital key-fob use and surveillance video. The records for Duenas on the day of the robbery revealed a gap in the time-log between 11:48 a.m. and 2:43 p.m. Video surveillance showed Duenas walking south off West Glen property-not in the direction of Target-at approximately 11:48 a.m. Video surveillance ...

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