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Putman v. State

Court of Appeals of Iowa

July 24, 2019

RICKY LEE PUTMAN, Applicant-Appellant,
v.
STATE OF IOWA, Respondent-Appellee.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Fayette County, Richard D. Stochl, Judge.

         Ricky Putman appeals the denial of his application for postconviction relief.

          Stuart G. Hoover of Blair & Fitzsimmons, P.C., Dubuque, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Sheryl Soich, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Tabor and Greer, JJ.

          GREER, JUDGE.

         A postconviction-relief applicant argues his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to adequately advise him of his right to testify in his own defense and for failing to keep him informed of the defense strategy, thereby depriving him of the ability to participate in his defense. The district court determined that the applicant's trial counsel did not fail to perform an essential duty and denied the applicant's ineffectiveness claims. On our review, we affirm.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         The Iowa Supreme Court set forth the relevant facts of the underlying criminal case in State v. Putman, 848 N.W.2d 1, 3-7 (Iowa 2014). Briefly, Putman was accused of sexually abusing two-year-old L.R. As the supreme court noted, pediatric physicians "concluded that L.R. had suffered vaginal penetration injuries," which required surgery under general anesthesia and "numerous stitches to repair the damage." Putman, 848 N.W.2d at 4. A jury convicted Putman of sexual abuse in the first degree. He was sentenced to life in prison. On direct appeal of his conviction, Putman challenged the sufficiency of the evidence and argued that the trial court improperly admitted evidence of child pornography on his computer. The Iowa Supreme Court affirmed his conviction. See id. at 8-16.

         In September 2014, Putman filed an application for postconviction relief. He originally raised the same claims as he had on direct appeal. However, after amending his application, Putman now raises two ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claims. After a hearing on his amended postconviction application, the district court denied Putman's application in its entirety. Putman appeals.

         II. Standard of Review.

         "We generally review the denial of an application for postconviction relief for correction of errors at law." Sauser v. State, 928 N.W.2d 816, 818 (Iowa 2019). However, "[w]e review ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claims de novo." State v. Brown, __ N.W.2d__, __, 2019 WL 2710809, at *2 (Iowa 2019).

         III. Analysis.

         Putman raises his postconviction claims under the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution. The Sixth Amendment provides, "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right . . . to have the Assistance of Counsel for [their] defence." U.S. Const. amend. VI. "In order to prevail on an ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claim, a defendant must demonstrate both that '(1) . . . trial counsel failed to perform an essential duty, and (2) this failure resulted in prejudice.'" Sauser, 928 N.W.2d at 818 (quoting State v. Straw, 709 N.W.2d 128, 133 (Iowa 2006)); see also Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 687-88 (1984). To ...


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