United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Cedar Rapids Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER ON PETITION PURSUANT TO
28 U.S.C. § 2254
Leonard T. Strand, Chief Judge
case is before me on petitioner Dwayne Williams' petition
(Doc. No. 1) for writ of habeas corpus. Both parties have
filed merits briefs (Doc. Nos. 40, 45) and Williams has
supplemented his brief (Doc. Nos. 41, 42, 46). Oral argument
is not necessary. N.D. Iowa L.R. 7(c).
Iowa Court of Appeals summarized the facts of Williams'
conviction as follows:
At about 10:50 p.m. on January 25, 2009, Michael Ohlenkamp
went to the Kwik Star gas station on Franklin Street in
Waterloo to buy some groceries. When Ohlenkamp went into the
store, he left his vehicle unlocked with the engine running.
As Ohlenkamp was inside, video surveillance from the gas
station shows a person wearing a black coat with an
unfastened belt hanging from it, a white hooded sweatshirt,
dark pants, white tennis shoes, and a dark baseball cap open
the passenger door to Ohlenkamp's two-door vehicle and
get into the backseat.
After purchasing his items, Ohlenkamp returned to his car and
began to drive home. As Ohlenkamp exited the gas station
parking lot, the person in his backseat grabbed his hair,
pulled his head back, and held a knife to his throat.
Ohlenkamp attempted to grab the knife, but the knife was
tightened against his throat and a male voice told him to let
go or he would be killed. The man then demanded money, to
which Ohlenkamp replied that he did not have any.
Ohlenkamp was instructed to pull into a Kum & Go gas
station approximately five to six blocks down Franklin
Street. Ohlenkamp did and parked in front of the store. The
man demanded Ohlenkamp's change. Ohlenkamp complied and
grabbed “a couple bucks” in coins from his
pockets. As Ohlenkamp handed the change to the man in the
back seat, some of the coins fell onto the floor. When the
man let go of Ohlenkamp's hair to pick up the coins,
Ohlenkamp exited his vehicle, shut the door, and stood by the
driver's side door watching the man. After the man picked
up the coins, he exited from the vehicle's passenger
side. Ohlenkamp looked directly at the man for a few seconds
and was able to see him “perfectly clear, ”
before the man flipped his white hood over his head and
calmly walked away.
Lori Snyder, the Kum & Go sales manager, noticed
something was wrong as soon as she saw Ohlenkamp park his
vehicle. She could see Ohlenkamp leaning back toward the
backseat and suspected that someone else was in the car. She
called 911 at 10:56 p.m. As Snyder was speaking with the 911
dispatcher, she walked out of the store. At this time,
Ohlenkamp was exiting his vehicle followed by another person
crawling out of the backseat through the passenger side door.
Although Snyder did not see the face of the person crawling
from the backseat, she did observe that the person was a tall
and skinny black male wearing a black jacket with a white
hooded sweatshirt pulled over his head. Snyder watched the
man nonchalantly walk around the west side of the store.
As Snyder continued to speak with the dispatcher, others were
able to flag down a police officer driving by. The officer
was given a description of the man, which was broadcasted as
a black male wearing a white hooded sweatshirt. The officer
was also pointed in the direction that the man fled.
At 10:58 p.m., approximately three blocks away from the Kum
& Go gas station, police saw a man fitting the
suspect's description walking down the street by himself.
The police turned a spotlight on him and ordered the man to
show his hands and get on the ground, but the man ignored
them and continued to walk. The officers then noticed the man
fidgeting with something in his pockets. When the police
officers yelled for a second time, the man stopped and fell
into a snow bank with his hands pushed into the snow
underneath him. The man was handcuffed and identified as
Williams. After Williams was placed into the back of a squad
car, officers discovered a knife buried in the snow bank.
At 11:07 p.m., the officers returned Williams to the Kum
& Go to see if Ohlenkamp or Snyder could make an
identification. As they drove back to the gas station,
Williams shook the baseball cap from his head.
At 11:08 pm, Williams was removed from the squad car in
handcuffs and his baseball cap was returned to his head.
Williams stood by the gas pumps under the lighting of the
canopy, while Ohlenkamp and Snyder stood inside the gas
station's front doors. As Williams stood by the pumps,
his hood was put over his head. Ohlenkamp identified Williams
as the robber and told the police that he was positive.
Snyder confirmed that Williams' clothing and build was
“a perfect match” to the robber. Ohlenkamp and
Snyder were later taken to the police station where they
provided written statements.
At the police station, Williams's clothing was seized. He
was wearing a black leather coat with a missing belt, a dark
baseball cap with a white star on the front of it, a white
hooded sweatshirt, dark jeans, and white tennis shoes.
Williams was also found with $ 2.15 in coins on his person.
Weeks after the incident, Ohlenkamp discovered a black belt
on the floor of the back seat of his vehicle. The belt did
not belong to him, and no one had been in his car since the
incident. Ohlenkamp believed the belt belonged to the robber,
so he took it to the police. The belt matched Williams'
black coat, and pictures from the night of the incident
confirmed that it was in Ohlenkamp's vehicle at that
State v. Williams, No. 10-1254, 2011 WL 5394366, at
*1-3 (Iowa Ct. App. Nov. 9, 2011).
was charged by trial information on February 5, 2009, with
one count of robbery in the first degree in violation of Iowa
Code § 711.2. Id. at *3. During trial, the
victim identified Williams as the robber and stated, “I
am one hundred percent positive that's him.”
Id. In his defense, Williams presented testimony
from Otto MacLin, an associate professor in the psychology
department at the University of Northern Iowa. Id.
MacLin testified to the procedures normally used to ensure
positive identifications but did not offer an opinion as to
whether the identification procedures used in Williams'
case conformed with the standards. Id. The jury
returned a guilty verdict. Id. Williams was
sentenced to 25 years' imprisonment and, under Iowa law,
must serve at least 70 percent of that sentence. Id.
direct appeal, Williams argued that his trial counsel was
ineffective for failing to file a motion to suppress based on
the allegedly-flawed identification procedures. Id.
at *1. The Iowa Court of Appeals denied Williams' claim
on the basis that he could not establish the
“prejudice” element, given the independent
evidence that corroborated the identification. Id.
at *4. Williams timely filed an application for further
review with the Iowa Supreme Court, which was denied on
February 3, 2012.
filed a state postconviction relief (PCR) action on August 7,
2012. Williams had issues with his counsel during this case.
His first appointed attorney was removed after Williams
asserted that they had a breakdown in communication and
counsel informed the court that she had a potential conflict
of interest. Doc. No. 22-5; Doc. No. 22-7; Doc. No. 22-8.
Williams filed a motion to remove his second appointed
counsel after an apparent disagreement over the merits of
some of Williams' PCR claims. Doc. No. 22-9. This motion
was denied. Doc. No. 22-10. Williams then filed a motion to
void the first order removing his first appointed attorney.
Doc. No. 22-11. This was denied. The second appointed
attorney does not appear to have filed anything substantive
on Williams' behalf. The PCR petition was summarily
dismissed September 18, 2013, for failing to state a claim.
While Williams alleged that the trial court violated his
rights by allowing him to represent himself, the record
demonstrated that he was represented by counsel during his
trial. Doc. No. 22-16.
filed a second PCR petition on February 4, 2014. He argued
that his conviction was invalid because (1) he was present at
a preliminary hearing without the assistance of counsel, (2)
the trial information was not properly signed or approved by
a judge, (3) the state failed to formally arraign him, (4)
the clerk's office failed to provide transcripts of
pre-trial hearings, (5), the state violated his right to a
speedy indictment, (6) the state violated his right to a
speedy trial, (7) the clerk's office, judges, and
prosecuting attorney committed misconduct by falsifying
documents in the court trial, (8) the Iowa court did not have
jurisdiction over his trial, and (9) his trial, appellate,
and first PCR counsel were ineffective. After a hearing, the
Iowa District Court denied the second PCR petition. Doc. No.
23-37. Specifically, the court found that the first eight
grounds lacked factual support in the record and that
Williams failed to establish that his trial and appellate
counsel breached an essential duty in failing to object as to