from the Iowa District Court for Louisa County, Mary Ann
Brown (summary disposition) and Michael J. Schilling
(postconviction trial), Judges.
Sierra appeals the summary dismissal of his application for
postconviction relief. AFFIRMED.
D. Tindal of Keegan & Farnsworth, Iowa City, for
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Kyle P. Hanson, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Doyle and Bower, JJ.
VAITHESWARAN, Presiding Judge.
Sierra appeals the partial summary disposition of his
application for postconviction relief. He contends he raised
a genuine issue of material fact as to (1) whether his plea
attorney was ineffective in failing to request a second
competency hearing and (2) whether the district court
neglected its obligation to consider competency issues.
Background Facts and Proceedings
was charged with several crimes in connection with the death
of his wife. He moved to suspend the proceedings on the
ground that he was not competent to stand trial. The district
court granted the motion and committed Sierra to the Iowa
Medical and Classification Center for a competency
evaluation. At a subsequent hearing, the district court found
him competent to stand trial.
2007, Sierra pled guilty to second-degree murder and
first-degree burglary. This court affirmed his conviction and
sentence. See State v. Sierra, No. 07-1913, 2008 WL
2752111, at *3 (Iowa Ct. App. July 16, 2008).
filed a postconviction relief application and multiple
amendments to the application, raising several claims. The
postconviction court granted the State's motion for
summary disposition of four ineffective-assistance-of-counsel
claims. The court ultimately dismissed the remaining claims
on the merits. This appeal followed.
takes issue with the court's summary disposition of his
claims that his plea attorney was ineffective in failing to
request a second competency hearing and in failing to file a
motion in arrest of judgment on this basis. He contends a
psychiatrist's letter he submitted more than four years
after the plea proceeding raised a genuine issue of material
fact on his competency at the time of the plea proceeding.
claims of ineffective assistance of counsel are properly
raised in a postconviction relief application, 'an
evidentiary hearing on the merits is ordinarily
required.'" See Manning v. State, 654
N.W.2d 555, 562 (Iowa 2002) (quoting Foster v.
State,395 N.W.2d 637, 638 (Iowa 1986)). However,
"the court may grant a motion by either party for
summary disposition of the application, when it appears from
the [record] that there is no genuine issue of material fact
and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law." Iowa Code § 822.6 (2016). A postconviction
relief applicant alleging ineffective assistance of counsel
must make the required showing of both deficient performance