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Jason v. State

Court of Appeals of Iowa

June 19, 2019

DANIEL SAMUEL JASON, Applicant-Appellant,
v.
STATE OF IOWA, Respondent-Appellee.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Johnson County, Chad A. Kepros, Judge.

         Daniel Jason appeals the district court's denial of his two applications for postconviction relief. AFFIRMED.

          Lanny M. Van Daele of Van Daele Law, LLC, North Liberty, for appellant.

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

          Considered by Potterfield, P.J., May, J., and Mahan, S.J. [*]

          PER CURIAM.

         In 2007, Daniel Jason was convicted of simple assault and three counts of harassment concerning his unwanted actions toward his former girlfriend, C.C. A previously-entered no-contact order was extended for five years. "Contrary to Jason's declaration at [the] sentencing hearing that he would never contact [C.C.] again," he contacted her just hours after his release from jail. See State v. Jason, No. 14-1162, 2015 WL 6510334, at *1 (Iowa Ct. App. Oct. 28, 2015) (hereinafter Jason II).

         Jason's conduct toward C.C. persisted. In 2007, he was convicted by a jury of stalking in violation of a no-contact order and tampering with a witness. On direct appeal, this court affirmed his convictions but ordered a limited remand to apply Indiana v. Edwards, 554 U.S. 164, 177-78 (2008), to determine whether Jason "was competent to stand trial, but not competent to take on the expanded role of representing himself at trial." State v. Jason, 779 N.W.2d 66, 75-76 (Iowa Ct. App. 2009).[1] The court also ordered resentencing, finding the district court "did not provide any reasons for its decision to impose consecutive sentences." Id. at 77.

         On remand, following a "meaningful hearing," the district court concluded Jason was competent to represent himself at trial. Meanwhile, separate from the hearing and court's decision, the parties stipulated Jason was competent to represent himself at trial and that his sentences should run concurrently. The court imposed concurrent sentences.

         Upon his release from prison in 2012, Jason resumed contact with C.C. despite the no-contact order still in effect, "starting her ordeal all over again." Jason II, 2015 WL 6510334, at *2. In 2014, following a bench trial, Jason was convicted of stalking in violation of a no-contact order and two counts of extortion, enhanced as an habitual offender. On direct appeal, this court affirmed his convictions. See id. at *14.

         Jason filed two postconviction-relief (PCR) applications: in 2011, he filed PCCV073198, challenging his 2007 convictions and 2010 sentence (a prerequisite for his subsequent habitual-offender enhancements); and in 2015, he filed PCCV077747, challenging his 2014 convictions. The two applications were consolidated, and a trial took place over two days in 2017. Thereafter, the district court entered a ruling denying Jason's applications.

         On appeal, [2] Jason contends his trial counsel in 2010 was ineffective in failing to challenge his competency to represent himself at his 2007 trial; his trial counsel in 2014 was ineffective in allowing him to waive a jury trial, failing to object at sentencing when the State introduced a risk-assessment report, failing to demand a "guilty-plea like colloquy" before he stipulated to the issue of identity during the "habitual-offender phase," failing to renew his motion for new trial "upon learning of the court's impartial bias," failing to challenge the sufficiency of the evidence to prove extortion, and failing to advise him to accept a plea offer. He also asserts this court applied the wrong standard in evaluating his challenge to the denial of his motions for recusal in Jason II, 2015 WL 6510334, at *6-7. In a pro se brief, Jason contends his PCR counsel was ineffective in failing to "raise ineffective appellate counsel claims" regarding the district court's refusal to let him represent himself at his 2014 trial.[3]

         On our de novo review, [4] we agree with the district court's well-reasoned findings and conclusions in its thorough and detailed ruling. With the exception of Jason's pro se claim regarding PCR counsel, [5] the court considered each of the issues raised in this appeal and provided a thorough and meaningful analysis of each issue. We agree with the ruling ...


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