from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Joel A.
Brumfield appeals from the denial of his application for
postconviction relief. AFFIRMED.
D. Zinkula of Booth Law Firm, Osceola, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Katie K. Krickbaum,
Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.
Considered by Vogel, C.J., and Vaitheswaran and Tabor, JJ.
the stop and search of a vehicle, the State charged Marquis
Brumfield with drug-related crimes. Brumfield moved to
suppress the drug evidence. The district court denied the
motion after finding the vehicle search "was valid as a
consented-to search." Brumfield pled guilty to
possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver.
See Iowa Code § 124.401 (1)(c) (2014). The
district court accepted the plea and subsequently imposed
judgment and sentence.
applied for postconviction relief, alleging in part that his
attorney was ineffective in failing to investigate all
potential grounds for a suppression motion. See
Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 687 (1984)
(requiring a showing of (1) counsel's deficient
performance and (2) resulting prejudice). Following an
evidentiary hearing, the postconviction court found counsel
breached an essential duty in failing to argue that
Brumfield's consent to the vehicle search was involuntary
under State v. Pals, 805 N.W.2d 767, 782-84 (Iowa
2011). On the prejudice element, the court found officers
could have searched the vehicle without a warrant based on
the automobile exception to the warrant requirement.
Accordingly, the court said, "The Defendant [could] not
show that the result of the hearing or his case would have
been different." The court denied the
appeal, Brumfield again asserts counsel was ineffective in
failing to challenge the voluntariness of his consent and in
failing "to investigate and argue that the automobile
exception to the warrant requirement did not apply." We
assume without deciding that the postconviction court
correctly analyzed the consent issue and correctly found a
breach of an essential duty with respect to that issue. We
proceed to the court's discussion of the automobile
2017, the Iowa Supreme Court considered a challenge to the
continued viability of the automobile exception. See
State v. Storm, 898 N.W.2d 140, 141 (Iowa 2017). The
court elected to retain the exception. Id. at 156.
Storm was decided after Brumfield's suppression
proceedings, the opinion simply reaffirmed Iowa's
enduring recognition of the exception. Then, as now, the
exception was an available basis for upholding the vehicle
search. For that reason, we are not persuaded by
Brumfield's suggestion that counsel breached an essential
duty in "fail[ing] to argue the inapplicability of the
automobile exception to the warrant requirement."
See Ortiz v. State, No. 16-0441, 2016 WL 6902817, at
*4 (Iowa Ct. App. Nov. 23, 2016) (stating "there is no
duty to challenge longstanding case law" recognizing the
automobile exception to the warrant requirement). We next
consider whether the exception applied to the facts of
automobile exception to the warrant requirement applies
"when probable cause and exigent circumstances exist at
the time the car is stopped by police." Storm,
898 N.W.2d at 145 (citation omitted). "Probable cause
exists to search a vehicle 'when the facts and
circumstances would lead a reasonably prudent person to
believe that the vehicle contains contraband.'"
State v. Hoskins, 711 N.W.2d 720, 726 (Iowa 2006)
(citation omitted). The exigent-circumstances requirement is
satisfied by "[t]he inherent mobility of motor
vehicles." Storm, 898 N.W.2d at 145 (citation
suppression hearing, a Waterloo police officer testified he
"received a phone call from an informant" he had
"known for about ten years advising [a] red
Charger" was traveling down a road "and the
occupant of the vehicle was in possession of a quantity of
methamphetamine." The informant told the officer
"the methamphetamine would be in a . . . can with a
hidden compartment in it, either the top or the bottom
screwed off." The officer testified the informant
previously gave information that led to arrests or the
issuance of search warrants.
de novo review, we agree with the district court that these
facts afforded the officer probable cause to search the
vehicle. See Hoskins, 711 N.W.2d at 727 (noting that
a reliable confidential informant provided first-hand
information). The information was detailed, and the source
was reliable. The officer verified the location of the red
Charger on the roadway. Id. (noting officers
corroborated portions of the informant's disclosure). He
determined the vehicle was "going faster than the speed
limit" and stopped it on that basis. See id. at
726 ("[I]t is well-settled law that a traffic violation,
no matter how minor, gives a police officer probable cause to
stop the motorist."). Following the stop, he proceeded
to search Brumfield and the vehicle. Although he cited