from the Iowa District Court for Fayette County, Richard D.
Putman appeals the denial of his application for
G. Hoover of Blair & Fitzsimmons, P.C., Dubuque, for
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Sheryl Soich, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Tabor and Greer, JJ.
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
Background Facts and Proceedings.
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.
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
Standard of Review.
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).
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 ...