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State v. Johnson

Court of Appeals of Iowa

October 11, 2017

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
BRUCE LAMONT JOHNSON JR., Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Henry W. Latham II, Judge.

         Defendant appeals his conviction for theft in the first degree.

          Mark C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Brenda J. Gohr, Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Tyler J. Buller, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Doyle and Bower, JJ.

          BOWER, JUDGE.

         Bruce Johnson Jr. appeals his conviction for theft in the first degree. We find Johnson has failed to show he received ineffective assistance on the ground defense counsel did not object to evidence Johnson initially gave police officers a false identification card. We affirm his conviction.

         I. Background Facts & Proceedings

         On July 4, 2016, David Scott went to the Isle of Capri Casino in Bettendorf. As Scott stood in a line to register for a prize drawing, he had two voucher tickets in his front shirt pocket-one for five dollars and one for $115.[1] A person bumped into him, and he felt a tug on his shirt. Scott noticed his two voucher tickets were missing and he contacted security. A review of video from the casino security cameras showed Johnson reached into Scott's pocket and took the voucher tickets.

         The casino security team contacted the Bettendorf Police Department. Lieutenant John Majeske and Officer Ashley Guffey approached Johnson at the casino. He told them his name was William Maxey and gave them a Colorado identification card. After some discussion, Johnson stated he had taken one voucher. Officer Guffey noted the picture on the Colorado identification card did not look like the defendant. Johnson then told officers his real name.

         Johnson was charged with theft in the first degree, in violation of Iowa Code section 714.2(1) (2016). A jury found Johnson guilty of this offense. Johnson was sentenced to a term of imprisonment not to exceed ten years. He now appeals his conviction, claiming he received ineffective assistance of counsel.

         II. Standard of Review

         We 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, a defendant must prove (1) counsel failed to perform an essential duty and (2) prejudice resulted to the extent it denied the defendant a fair trial. Id. A defendant'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).

         III. ...


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