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State v. Jordan

Court of Appeals of Iowa

September 26, 2018

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
GREGORY EARL JORDAN, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Brook K. Jacobsen, District Associate Judge.

         The defendant appeals his conviction of theft in the third degree following a jury trial.

          Mark C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Stephan J. Japuntich, Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Genevieve Reinkoester, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Doyle and Mullins, JJ.

          DOYLE, JUDGE.

         This appeal arises following a jury trial where Gregory Jordan was found guilty of theft in the third degree in violation of Iowa Code section 714.2(3) (2017). Jordan appeals his conviction by arguing his counsel was ineffective in failing to file a motion to suppress evidence and failing to object to testimony during trial. Because Jordan does not show prejudice, we affirm.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         On August 22, 2017, Jordan entered a Von Maur store at College Square Mall in Cedar Falls. Security cameras and store employees observed Jordan taking necklaces from a jewelry counter and placing them in his pocket. Jordan then immediately left Von Maur without paying for the merchandise and was followed by a loss prevention officer into a nearby Younkers store, where Jordan was observed stealing clothes. The authorities were notified and police officers found Jordan just as he was leaving the mall. When questioned by police officers, Jordan admitted to stealing the necklaces and was taken back to Von Maur. In a back office, Jordan was surrounded by police officers and several Von Maur employees. Jordan signed a statement admitting he stole the necklaces and discussed prior instances of theft from the Von Maur and Younkers stores. Jordan indicated he stole from the stores to pay for drugs. At the conclusion of the interview, Jordan was arrested. Throughout the process, Jordan was never once read his Miranda rights.[1]

         Jordan's counsel did not file a pretrial motion to suppress the evidence obtained after police began interacting with Jordan. During the trial, the body cam footage from the police was presented as evidence to the jury. Additionally, the jury heard testimony about the interview in the back room of Von Maur, including that Jordan was stealing to pay for drugs and that he had also stolen from Younkers. Evidence of thefts occurring before August 22, 2017, were not presented to the jury.

         The jury returned a guilty verdict after a very brief deliberation process, and Jordan was sentenced to two years in jail. Jordan appeals his conviction, arguing ineffective assistance of counsel on two grounds. First, he claims his counsel was ineffective by failing to file a motion to suppress the evidence obtained by police questioning and Von Maur personnel. Second, he claims counsel provided ineffective assistance by failing to object to testimony regarding the subsequent theft that occurred at Younkers.

         II. Scope of Review and Law.

         Ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claims are reviewed de novo. State v. Straw, 709 N.W.2d 128, 133 (Iowa 2006). "If an ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claim is raised on direct appeal from the criminal proceedings, we may decide the record is adequate to decide the claim or may choose to preserve the claim for postconviction proceedings." Id. Here, we find the record to be adequate to decide Jordan's claim.

         "To establish [a] claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, [a defendant] must demonstrate (1) . . . trial counsel failed to perform an essential duty, and (2) this failure resulted in prejudice." Id. (citing Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 687-88 (1984)). "Both elements must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence. However, both elements do not always need to be addressed. If the claim lacks prejudice, it can be decided on that ground alone without deciding whether the attorney performed deficiently." Ledezma v. State, 626 N.W.2d 134, 142 (Iowa 2001) (citations omitted). To show prejudice, "the [defendant] must demonstrate 'that there is a reasonable probability that, but for counsel's unprofessional errors, the result of the proceeding would have been ...


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