from the Iowa District Court for Crawford County, Duane E.
postconviction applicant appeals the denial of relief.
H. Kouris, Council Bluffs, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Tyler J. Buller, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Tabor and McDonald, JJ.
State charged Clint Jasper with four counts of sexual abuse
in the second degree-exposing him to the possibility of up to
one-hundred years in prison. His attorney negotiated a deal
with the State in which Jasper entered
Alford pleas to three counts of lascivious acts
with a minor in return for an indeterminate twenty-year
sentence. The district court accepted the plea agreement
after engaging in a thorough colloquy with Jasper. Jasper did
not file a direct appeal but did apply for postconviction
relief (PCR) in which he challenged his plea attorney's
performance. The district court denied relief, and Jasper now
appeals. He alleges his counsel should have arranged for
intelligence testing and failed to explain the plea bargain
or what rights Jasper would waive by agreeing to
Finding no breach of duty by counsel, we affirm.
Facts and Prior Proceedings
State anticipated presenting evidence that Jasper forced
three children-ages three, four, and five years-to perform
oral sex on him and attempted to sodomize two of the
children. The State filed a trial information charging four
counts of sexual abuse in the second degree, class
"B" felonies, in violation of Iowa Code sections
709.1 and 709.3(2) (2012). Each count carried a twenty-five
year term with a seventy-percent mandatory minimum.
Peter Goldsmith appeared for Jasper during the criminal
proceedings. Goldsmith recalled talking to Jasper
"numerous" times on the phone and meeting in-person
on multiple occasions. Together, Goldsmith and Jasper
reviewed the videotaped interviews of the three children from
Project Harmony, a Child Protection Center. During his
representation, Goldsmith noted Jasper's below-average
intellect. According to Goldsmith, he suggested Jasper be
evaluated to determine his "mental health or his
understanding." Jasper refused, claiming he didn't
want to be labeled "crazy, " and remained steadfast
in his refusal even after Goldsmith explained that would not
be the purpose of the examination.
Goldsmith was aware of Jasper's intellectual limitations,
he tried to use basic vocabulary, spent more time than usual
going over issues, and had Jasper repeat things back using
his own words to check for understanding. Goldsmith did not
approach the district court to seek a competency hearing
because he thought Jasper was competent and Jasper opposed an
prepared for trial while also negotiating a plea deal. He
knew Jasper did not want to admit guilt so he sought
Alford pleas. Goldsmith and the prosecutor went
through a series of offers before reaching an agreement
satisfactory to Jasper. Goldsmith sent Jasper a letter
detailing what rights he would give up through a plea
plea hearing, the court ensured Jasper was not impaired, was
fully informed about his plea, and knew what rights he
forfeited. The court periodically stopped to confirm Jasper
didn't have any questions or need more explanation. The
court accepted Jasper's Alford pleas to three
counts of lascivious acts with a child, class "C"
felonies, in violation of section 709.8. Jasper requested
immediate sentencing and received three terms of ten years
each, one concurrent and two consecutive, for a total of
twenty years without a mandatory minimum.
prison, Jasper completed a skills intake assessment to gauge
his educational proficiency. Eventually, Jasper sent
Goldsmith a letter asking about an appeal. The appeal
deadline had passed, so Goldsmith informed Jasper of his PCR
rights. Jasper then filed this PCR action, arguing (1) he
thought he was pleading to one count, not three, (2) he did
not knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently enter his
pleas; (3) Goldsmith was ineffective for failing to explain
the plea agreement and what rights were forfeited; and (4)
Goldsmith was ...