from the Iowa District Court for Sioux County, Jeffrey A.
appeals the district court decision denying his application
for postconviction relief from his convictions for
second-degree sexual abuse and lascivious acts with a child.
Michael J. Jacobsma of Jacobsma, Clabaugh & Goslinga,
P.L.C., Sioux Center, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Thomas J. Ogden, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Doyle and Bower, JJ.
Stacy appeals the district court decision denying his
application for postconviction relief from his convictions
for second-degree sexual abuse and lascivious acts with a
child. We find Stacy has failed to show he received
ineffective assistance from defense counsel or postconviction
counsel. We affirm the decision of the district court.
Background Facts & Proceedings
December 17, 2012, Stacy was charged in FECR014164 with
sexual abuse in the second degree, four counts of sexual
abuse in the third degree, and sexual exploitation of a
minor. On January 8, 2013, Stacy was charged in FECR014201
with two counts of lascivious acts with a child. The cases
involved two different child victims.
entered into a plea agreement in which he agreed to plead
guilty to second-degree sexual abuse, in violation of Iowa
Code section 709.3(2) (2011), and to be sentenced to
twenty-five years in prison, where he would not be eligible
for parole or work release until he had served at least
seventy percent of his sentence. Stacy also agreed to plead
guilty to one of the counts of lascivious acts with a child,
in violation of section 709.8(1), with a ten year sentence,
to be served concurrently with his sentence for second-degree
sexual abuse. The State agreed to dismiss the other charges
against Stacy. The district court accepted Stacy's guilty
pleas and sentenced him according to the plea agreement.
Stacy did not appeal his convictions.
August 1, 2014, Stacy filed an application for postconviction
relief. He claimed he received ineffective assistance because
defense counsel improperly informed him he would only have to
serve eight years in prison and did not file a motion to
suppress. The district court found, "There is nothing in
the record that suggests Mr. Stacy should have had an
expectation of an eight-year sentence." The court also
found the evidence Stacy sought to suppress (photographs and
text messages) was obtained by Stacy's wife and given to
the police. Because the wife was not acting as an agent of
the government, the evidence of her actions were not
suppressible. Stacy now appeals the district court decision
denying his application for postconviction relief.
Standard of Review
conduct a de novo review of claims of ineffective assistance
of counsel. State v. Maxwell, 743 N.W.2d 185, 195
(Iowa 2008). To establish a claim of ineffective assistance
of counsel, an applicant must prove (1) counsel failed to
perform an essential duty and (2) prejudice resulted to the
extent it denied the applicant a fair trial. Id. An
applicant's failure to prove either element by a
preponderance of the evidence is fatal to a claim of
ineffective assistance. State v. Polly, 657 N.W.2d
462, 465 (Iowa 2003).