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Pate v. State

Court of Appeals of Iowa

May 2, 2018

ROBERT LEE PATE JR., Applicant-Appellant,
v.
STATE OF IOWA, Respondent-Appellee.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, David N. May, Judge.

         Robert Pate Jr. appeals the denial of his postconviction relief application. AFFIRMED.

          Nathan A. Olson and Christine E. Branstad of Branstad Law, P.L.L.C., Des Moines, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Sharon K. Hall, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Heard by Danilson, C.J., and Vaitheswaran and Bower, JJ.

          VAITHESWARAN, Judge.

         Robert Pate Jr. appeals the denial of his postconviction relief application.

         I. Background Proceedings

         Des Moines police officers obtained a search warrant based on information provided by a confidential informant. They executed the warrant on an apartment and found Pate and a woman inside with eighty-one grams of crack cocaine, as well as cocaine salt, marijuana, and a large amount of cash.

         The State filed criminal complaints against Pate but dismissed them without prejudice based on the United States government's expected pursuit of charges. The United States filed a federal indictment against Pate for possessing at least fifty grams of cocaine with intent to deliver. The government later dismissed the indictment after a federal magistrate judge ordered the government to produce to the court materials relating to the confidential informant.

         The State refiled the criminal complaints following the federal dismissal. Pate moved to have the identity of the confidential informant disclosed. He also filed a motion to suppress evidence, asserting a Des Moines police officer "made false statements in the application for a search warrant." Specifically, he alleged the confidential informant identified in the application "either did not exist or did not make purchases from the apartment" in which Pate was found.

         The district court denied the motion to have the informant disclosed. Pate withdrew his motion to suppress and agreed to a stipulated trial on the minutes of evidence. The district court adjudged Pate guilty of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver as a second or subsequent offender.

         The court of appeals affirmed Pate's conviction. See State v. Pate, No. 11-0971, 2012 WL 3860450, at *1 (Iowa Ct. App. Sept. 6, 2012). We rejected a challenge to the lengthy delay between the dismissal of original charges against Pate and the refiling of charges. Id. at *3-4. We also concluded the district court did not err in denying Pate's request to disclose the identity of the confidential informant. Id. at *5-6.[1]

         Pate filed a postconviction relief application raising several claims. Following an evidentiary hearing, the district court denied the claims and dismissed the application. On appeal, Pate argues the district court erred in (1) denying his ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claims, (2) limiting discovery in the postconviction relief proceedings, and (3) concluding he did not establish pre-accusatorial delay.

         II. Ineffective Assistance Claims

         To prove ineffective assistance of counsel, Pate had to show (1) deficient performance (2) and prejudice. See Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 687 (1984). The first element requires a "showing that counsel made errors so serious that counsel was not functioning as the 'counsel' guaranteed the defendant by the Sixth Amendment." Id. The second element requires a "showing that counsel's errors were so serious as to deprive the defendant of a fair trial, a trial whose result is reliable." Id. On the second prong, "[t]he defendant must show that there is a reasonable probability that, but for counsel's unprofessional errors, the result of the proceeding would have been different." Id. at 694.

         A. ...


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