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Maddox v. State

Court of Appeals of Iowa

September 12, 2018

DAVID EUGENE MADDOX, Applicant-Appellant,
v.
STATE OF IOWA, Respondent-Appellee.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Pottawattamie County, Mark J. Eveloff, Judge.

         David Maddox appeals from the denial of his application for postconviction relief.

          Drew H. Kouris, Council Bluffs, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Louis S. Sloven, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Mullins and McDonald, JJ.

          DANILSON, Chief Judge.

         David Maddox appeals from the denial of his application for postconviction relief (PCR) challenging his convictions for kidnapping in the third degree, a class "C" felony, in violation of Iowa Code sections 710.1 and .4 (2009); attempted murder, a class "B" felony, in violation of section 707.11; and first-degree robbery, a class "B" felony, in violation of Iowa Cod sections 711.2 and .2. Maddox asserts his trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance and his appellate counsel was ineffective in failing to raise trial counsel's ineffectiveness on Maddox's first appeal. Because we conclude Maddox has not established trial or appellate counsel rendered ineffective assistance, we affirm.

         I. Background Facts & Proceedings.

         We previously stated the facts of this case on Maddox's first appeal:

[Maddox], co-defendant Jeremy Gibler, and the victim were riding around together on December 17, 2009, after having spent time together drinking at the home of Gibler's aunt and then going to the home of a person [Maddox] knew. [Maddox] was driving, Gibler was in the back seat, and the victim was in the passenger's seat. At some point, [Maddox] parked the car close to the Missouri River. As [Maddox] got out and walked around the car, Gibler struck the victim in the head from behind. [Maddox] pulled the victim out of the car, then [Maddox] and Gibler pulled the victim through trees and brush, down a slope to the rocks along the river. This area was not visible from the road. Once there, [Maddox] and Gibler beat and kicked the victim. Gibler took what the victim had in his pockets. Then [Maddox] lifted the victim by the neck of his shirt, said he knew the victim was a "snitch" or a "cop" and he was going to put him "in the river where people like [him] go, people that talk to cops," and then threw the victim into the river. When the victim stood up in the waist-deep water, [Maddox] threw a bowling-ball-size rock at him. In deflecting the rock with his hands, the victim ended up about shoulder-deep in the river. He moved with the current to a point where he could get out of the river. The victim walked nearly one and two-thirds miles in sub-freezing temperatures over a period of about forty-five minutes to a gas station, where the attendant called 911. The victim was treated at the hospital and released.
[Maddox] and Gibler were charged in January 2010 with kidnapping in the first degree, attempt to commit murder, and robbery in the first degree. Following a jury trial in April, both were found guilty of all charges. [Maddox]'s motion in arrest of judgment and motion for new trial were denied. In May, the court sentenced [Maddox] to life for the kidnapping conviction and terms of up to twenty-five years each on the robbery and attempted murder convictions.

State v. Maddox, No. 10-0831, 2011 WL 2075421, at *1 (Iowa Ct. App. May 25, 2011) (footnote omitted).

         On his first appeal, Maddox challenged the sufficiency of the evidence to support his kidnapping conviction and argued trial counsel was ineffective in not moving in arrest of judgment to assert there was no proof of serious injury to establish Maddox committed first-degree kidnapping. Id. This court concluded there was sufficient evidence supporting the kidnapping conviction, but the evidence did not support the finding that the injuries inflicted by Maddox created a substantial risk of death. Id. at *7. Thus, this court reversed the first-degree kidnapping conviction and remanded for entry of judgment and sentence for kidnapping in the third degree. Id. at *8.

         Maddox filed a PCR application on November 27, 2012, an amended application on March 16, 2015, and an addendum to the amended application on March 3, 2016. In addition to a number of other claims, Maddox asserted trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance of counsel in failing to adequately advise Maddox of his right to testify at trial, failing to object to and move for mistrial in response to alleged prosecutorial misconduct, and failing to object to bad-acts evidence. He also asserted counsel was ineffective in making an inadequate motion for judgment of acquittal to challenge the first-degree robbery and attempted-murder charges. Maddox argued the cumulative effect of the errors alleged denied Maddox a fair trial and warranted granting his PCR application. Maddox also contended appellate counsel was ineffective in failing to raise these issues during Maddox's first appeal.

         Following a trial held March 7, 2016, the PCR court determined Maddox had failed to establish trial or appellate counsel provided Maddox ineffective assistance. Thus, the court denied Maddox's PCR application. Maddox now appeals.

         II. Standard of Review.

         Generally, we review the court's denial of a PCR application for correction of errors at law. Lamasters v. State, 821 N.W.2d 856, 862 (Iowa 2012). "However, when the applicant asserts claims of a constitutional nature, our review is de novo. Thus, we review claims of ineffective assistance of counsel de novo." Id. (citation omitted).

         III. Analysis.

         Maddox contends trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance of counsel in a number of respects and appellate counsel was ineffective in failing to raise those issues on Maddox's first appeal. "To prevail on a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, a claimant must satisfy the Strickland [v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 687 (1984), ] test by showing '(1) counsel failed to perform an essential duty; and (2) prejudice resulted.'" State v. Clay, 824 N.W.2d 488, 495 (Iowa 2012) (citation omitted). The claimant must make a showing of both elements to establish ineffective assistance of counsel. Id.

         (1) Right to Testify.

         Maddox first asserts trial counsel provided ineffective assistance in failing to adequately advise Maddox of his right to testify at trial. "A defendant has a constitutional right to testify at a criminal trial[, ]" and "[c]ounsel has a duty to advise the defendant about the consequences of testifying so that an informed ...


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