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Latiker v. State

Court of Appeals of Iowa

June 6, 2018

QUINTEZE LATIKER, Applicant-Appellant,
v.
STATE OF IOWA, Respondent-Appellee.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Dubuque County, Bradley J. Harris, Judge.

         Quinteze Latiker appeals the denial of his postconviction-relief application.

          Zeke R. McCartney of Reynolds & Kenline, L.L.P., Dubuque, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Kyle P. Hanson, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Mullins and McDonald, JJ. Bower, J., takes no part.

          MULLINS, JUDGE.

         Quinteze Latiker appeals the denial of his postconviction-relief (PCR) application. He contends (1) the district court erred in denying relief on his claim that his trial attorneys were ineffective in failing to properly advise him of his confrontation rights before he waived them and thereafter failing to object to non in-person testimony at trial and (2) his PCR counsel's ineffectiveness in failing to present evidence and advocate for him at the PCR hearing amounted to structural error.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings

         Following a bench trial in 2010, Latiker was convicted of several drug charges. He appealed his convictions, raising a number of claims: (1) sufficiency of the evidence, (2) "his trial counsel was ineffective for not obtaining a ruling on the motion to dismiss for an alleged ninety-day speedy trial violation, " (3) "his right to confront his accusers was violated, " and (4) "his right to trial by jury was violated." State v. Latiker, No. 11-0923, 2012 WL 5356141, at *2-9 (Iowa Ct. App. Oct. 31, 2012), further review denied (Dec. 24, 2012). A panel of this court affirmed Latiker's convictions, concluding trial counsel was not ineffective as alleged, the evidence was sufficient to support the convictions, Latiker did not preserve error on his confrontation claim, and Latiker knowingly and voluntarily waived his right to a jury trial. Id.

         In May 2013, Latiker filed a pro-se PCR application forwarding several claims.[1] In January 2014, Latiker filed a forty-nine-page pro-se brief in support of his application, in which he raised the same and additional arguments.[2] In August 2014, the State moved to dismiss, contending Latiker's claims lacked specificity and were previously resolved on direct appeal. Thereafter, in June 2015, Latiker's counsel filed an amended PCR application.[3]

         The State's motion to dismiss was heard in conjunction with the PCR trial in April 2017. At the commencement of the hearing, Latiker's counsel related "there are some claims that [Latiker] raises that I am not going to pursue." As to Latiker's claims relating to his right to a jury trial, counsel opined "that the prejudice caused by not having a jury trial is speculative at best." She additionally opined there was "no guarantee if [trial counsel] requested to reinstate the jury trial, that it would have been granted." As to trial counsel's performance at trial, PCR counsel stated she could not "point to anything that is deficient in the representation." On the confrontation issue, counsel stated "in order to get a continuance, Mr. Latiker waived that right" and the waiver was valid. As to the claims contained in the June 2015 amended application, PCR counsel concluded:

I don't feel I can go forward on any . . . of them because I don't believe that I can prove the prejudice prong, and believe me, I've spent the last however long looking through everything very, very carefully. And so I had notified Mr. Latiker that I believe that we would lose on these issues [and] that he was free to raise the issues he wanted to raise.

         The court allowed Latiker to express any issues he wanted to raise. Latiker, who was participating in the hearing telephonically, advised he did not want to participate, handed the phone to a correctional officer, and walked out of the office from where he was participating. Before the conclusion of the hearing, PCR counsel requested the court to consider the issues raised in Latiker's initial PCR application and his support brief.

         In its subsequent ruling, the district court granted the State's motion to dismiss as to the claims considered on direct appeal concerning the alleged ninety-day speedy trial violation and sufficiency of ...


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