BRIAN J. LUCHTENBURG, Applicant-Appellant,
STATE OF IOWA, Respondent-Appellee.
from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, David F.
Luchtenburg appeals the denial of his postconviction-relief
S. Munnelly, Omaha, Nebraska, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Sharon K. Hall, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Potterfield and Tabor,
VAITHESWARAN, PRESIDING JUDGE.
found Brian Luchtenburg guilty of possession of marijuana,
possession of methamphetamine, and a drug tax stamp violation
as a repeat and habitual offender. On direct appeal, this
court affirmed his convictions. State v.
Luchtenburg, No. 15-0924, 2016 WL 3273869, at *1 (Iowa
Ct. App. June 15, 2016). Luchtenburg subsequently filed a
postconviction-relief application, which the district court
denied following an evidentiary hearing. In this appeal,
Luchtenberg argues his trial attorneys were ineffective in
(1) "failing to call [a witness] at the suppression
hearing" and "failing to effectively cross-examine
[the same witness] at trial, " (2) "failing to
obtain a video from [a] police car, " and (3) failing to
raise claimed conflicts of interest of the attorney and
prevail, Luchtenberg must show (1) deficient performance and
(2) prejudice. See Strickland v. Washington, 466
U.S. 668, 687 (1984). Our review is de novo. Diaz v.
State, 896 N.W.2d 723, 727 (Iowa 2017).
first claim relates to a woman with a package of marijuana
who was stopped by law enforcement officers and who told them
she was delivering the package to Luchtenberg and another
person at a specified address. See Luchtenberg, 2016
WL 3273869, at *1. Luchtenberg's attorney did not call
the woman to testify at the suppression hearing. In
Luchtenberg's view, "[T]rial counsel could
have severely discredited [her] had he
independently and thoroughly investigated matters."
(emphasis added). Had she been called, he argues, "The
information obtained from a thorough cross-examin[ation] . .
. would have been useful to corroborate [his] side of the
elaborated on his claim at the postconviction-relief hearing.
He testified the woman implicated him to get herself off the
hook and to curry favor with the police, who never arrested
or charged her. When asked by the court why he wanted her to
testify at the suppression hearing, he stated, "[W]e
could have proved at that point how unreliable of a witness
she is." In response to a follow-up question, he stated,
Well this entire case is based on her receiving a package of
drugs through the mail and she threw it in my yard. So the
entire case stems from her. I wanted to be able to put her on
the witness stand to be able to show that she's the one
to receive the package. It was sent to her mother's
address, it was sent in the name of her alias, she's got
a criminal history, and she was never arrested or charged
with any crime. So I wanted to be able to put her on the
witness stand to bring all that to the light of day.
failure to put the woman on the stand at the suppression
hearing does not require reversal because Luchtenberg's
attorney elicited the same testimony he could have elicited
from the woman through cross-examination of the State's
asked one of the police officers who stopped the woman,
"Did you entertain the possibility that she, with this
package now in her car, stopped by the police, wants to dump
it off, literally and figuratively, onto someone else at
someone else's house rather than [i]t being hers, did you
consider that?" The officer responded, "That's
always a possibility." Defense counsel continued,
"So as far as we know, at that point she could just be
saving herself in a fashion by saying I'll deliver it,
I'll tell these officers that I'm supposed to deliver
it somewhere else?" The officer testified it was