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McAlister v. State

Court of Appeals of Iowa

September 13, 2017

LUCAS A. MCALISTER, Applicant-Appellant,
v.
STATE OF IOWA, Respondent-Appellee.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Des Moines County, John M. Wright, Judge.

         The applicant appeals the district court decision denying his request for postconviction relief from his conviction for first-degree robbery. AFFIRMED.

          Kent A. Simmons, Bettendorf, for appellant.

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

          Considered by Vogel, P.J., Potterfield, J., and Goodhue, S.J. [*]

          GOODHUE, Senior Judge.

         Lucas A. McAlister was convicted of first-degree robbery by a jury's verdict rendered in 2004. He appealed, and the conviction was affirmed. McAlister filed an application for postconviction relief (PCR) in January 2008. His application was denied, and McAlister appeals. We affirm.

         I. Factual Background

         The facts leading up to the charges and conviction are set out in this court's ruling affirming the conviction and are not repeated except where relevant to this proceeding. See State v. McAlister, No. 05-2004, 2006 WL 1896216, at *1-2 (Iowa Ct. App. July 12, 2006). McAlister claimed ineffective assistance of counsel in the direct appeal and has based his PCR on other claims of ineffective assistance. McAlister claims as follows: (1) trial counsel was ineffective for failing to pursue a plea agreement in a timely fashion and for failing to advise him of the pitfalls of going to trial and (2) in failing to effectively investigate medical evidence and failing to pursue a motion for a new trial that would have demonstrated McAlister was found guilty on the basis of an improper expert medical opinion that had no foundation in medical science.

         II. Preservation of Error Both issues were raised before the trial court, and the State concedes the issues were preserved.

         III. Standard of Review

         Appeals from denial of PCR are ordinarily reviewed for corrections of errors at law, but when a constitutional issue, such as a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, is involved, it is reviewed de novo. Lemasters v. State, 821 N.W.2d 856, 862 (Iowa 2012).

         IV. Merits

         A. Ineffective Assistance ...


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