from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, David P.
Daniels appeals the district court's denial of his
application for postconviction relief.
Marshall W. Orsini of Carr & Wright, P.L.C., Des Moines,
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Louis S. Sloven, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Doyle and Bower, JJ.
Daniels appeals from the district court's denial of his
application for postconviction relief. He asserts that his
postconviction counsel was ineffective for failing to argue
his trial counsel should not have withdrawn a motion to
suppress his inculpatory statements. Because we find no
reasonable probability that he could prevail with the other
extensive evidence of his guilt properly admitted into the
evidence, Daniels cannot prevail on the prejudice prong.
Therefore, we affirm.
January 2013, officers were investigating Daniels's
relatives for suspected illegal drug dealing. Officers
observed Daniels exit a bus from Chicago while carrying a
black duffel bag. Daniels entered the passenger side door of
a vehicle driven by his relative, Latasha. When officers
stopped the vehicle they found the black bag on the floor in
front of Daniels. The bag contained approximately seventy
grams of cocaine base or crack cocaine. Daniels was charged
with possession of a controlled substance with the intent to
distribute, in violation of Iowa Code section
124.401(1)(a)(3) (2013) and failure to affix a drug-tax
stamp, in violation of Iowa Code section 453B.12.
January 2014, the case proceeded to a bench trial and the
district court found Daniels guilty of both charges. He was
sentenced to fifty years in prison with a one-third minimum
sentence on the possession-with-intent-to-distribute charge
and five years in prison on the charge of failure to affix a
drug-tax stamp. The sentences were ordered to run
concurrently. This court affirmed Daniels's convictions
and sentences on direct appeal. See State v.
Daniels, No. 14-1442, 2016 WL 5408279, at *5 (Iowa Ct.
App. Sept. 28, 2016).
February 2017, Daniels filed an application for
postconviction relief. A hearing was held in April 2017,
after which the district court denied his application.
Daniels now appeals, raising an
review ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claims de novo.
State v. Straw, 709 N.W.2d 128, 133 (Iowa 2006). To
succeed on this claim, the claimant must show, first, that
counsel breached an essential duty, and, second, that he was
prejudiced by counsel's failure. Id. If the
claimant's ineffective-assistance claim lacks prejudice,
we may decide the claim on that ground alone. Ledezma v.
State, 626 N.W.2d 134, 142 (Iowa 2001).
asserts his postconviction counsel was ineffective for
failing to provide evidence to support his claim that a
motion to suppress his inculpatory statements should not have
been withdrawn but vigorously pursued at trial. In its
postconviction ruling, the district court addressed
Daniels's claim regarding the suppression of evidence
from the search and stated:
[Daniels] offers no further argument as to why such a
challenge would have been successful. The court notes
[Daniels's] counsel initially filed a motion to suppress
evidence extending from "any stop, search, and seizure
made without a warrant" on January 31, 2013. However,
this was later withdrawn as shown in the court order on May
20, 2013. Without any evidence or argument made that a motion
to suppress had merit and would have been successful and
change the result of [Daniels's] trial, the court finds
[Daniels's] claim he is entitled to post-conviction
relief for his counsel's failure to seek suppression of
the vehicle stop is DENIED.
appeal, Daniels contends that had his postconviction counsel
presented evidence related to Daniels's purported
confession while in jail, he would have established that
Daniels was not adequately informed of his Miranda
rights,  did not understand them, and did not
knowingly and ...