from the Iowa District Court for Clinton County, John D.
State appeals the district court's grant of
postconviction relief to Benaiah Mablin.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Timothy M. Hau, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellant State.
J. Wolfe, Clinton, for appellee.
Considered by Mullins, P.J., Bower, J., and Vogel, S.J.
State seeks reversal of the district court's ruling
granting postconviction relief (PCR) to Benaiah Mablin on the
ground the court failed to properly analyze the
ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claims. Because we conclude
Mablin has failed to prove the requisite prejudice, we
reverse the district court and remand for dismissal of the
Background Facts and Proceedings.
December 13, 2007, at 5:02:57 p.m., a 9-1-1 caller reported
finding blood in the building elevator leading to an
apartment (Apartment #3) where neighbors found a bloody body
after the resident's child opened the door for them.
Officers were dispatched to the apartment, found Sandra
Chambers-Singh dead, and took statements from the neighbors.
Jeff Howard and Shelia Grant informed the officers they
believed Chambers-Singh was selling or using crack cocaine.
Howard also told the officers to speak with the tenants of
Apartment #1 because they were friends with Chambers-Singh.
Howard also informed the officers he had seen the male tenant
who lived in Apartment #1, Corey Campbell, knock on
Chambers-Singh's door earlier in the day around 1:00 or
2:00 p.m. Another neighbor, Janet Domer, informed police that
if Chambers-Singh was dead then "either C-Note or Ren
killed her." C-Note-Carley Campbell Sr.-was Corey
Campell's uncle. Ren-Lorenzo Dodd-was
officer interviewed Ginger Noble, who stated that at about
4:00 p.m. on December 13, she entered the elevator on the
second floor of the apartment building and encountered a
black male bleeding from his facial area. She stated the
black male was approximately six feet tall, wore a red
stocking cap, and a blue "puffy" winter coat.
Campbell gave a statement to Officer Michael Adney, whose
report provides, in part:
On 12/13/07, I interviewed Corey Campbell at . . . Apartment
#1. Corey told me he lived with his grandmother in that
apartment since October 2007.
Corey told he left the apartment at 1700 hrs. Corey said he
got back to his apartment somewhere between 1730 and 1800
hrs. He said he went out to get his hair braided, but did not
find anyone to braid it.
I asked Corey if he knew who lived in apartment #3. He said a
black girl named "Sandra". He said he knew Sandra
since about December 2006. He met her through a girl named
"Jasmine", Corey Campbell's uncle Carley
I asked Corey Campbell if he heard any yelling or noises.
Corey said between 1630 and 1640 hrs., he heard arguing and
went to his apartment door. The yelling came from
Sandra's apartment, so he knocked on her door. Corey said
he knocked on Sandra's Apartment, #3, between 1640 or
1650 hrs. He felt unsure on the time. When he knocked on the
door, Sandra's son . . . opened the door. Corey saw
Sandra sitting on her bed in the bedroom, crying. Corey said
he walked in the apartment and stood by the refrigerator
while he spoke with Sandra. Corey said he did not see anyone
else in the room at the time and did not see any blood.
Sandra told Corey she was fine. Corey left.
Corey said he returned between 1730 and 1800 hrs. As he
passed by #3, he knocked on the apartment and no one
answered, so he assumed no one remained in the apartment.
I asked Corey if he knew if Chambers-Singh owned a vehicle.
Corey said she drove a white or tannish minivan.
Campell Jr. (son of Carley Campbell Sr.) was interviewed by
Officer Dannie Howard at about 7:45 p.m. Carley stated he
arrived at Apartment #1 at about 5:00 p.m. and used the
stairs to get to the second floor. He stated he did not
remember seeing anyone in the hallway or the stairway when he
arrived. He told the officer he visited with Corey and
another person and, when he was leaving at about 6:08 p.m.,
police asked him to remain in the apartment. Carley stated he
had not seen Chambers-Singh on December 13.
at 5:03 p.m., Officer Dan Sager was dispatched to a hospital
to investigate a man who claimed to have been assaulted.
Officer Sager met the man, Mablin. In his report, Officer
Mablin said he was an informant for the police department,
which I knew from previous encounters. He told me, he was out
near the railroad tracks by Hy-Vee on 11th Avenue South and
4th Street and said he was picked up in a gray Cadillac and
was going to purchase some cocaine from a guy he knew as
Mablin said he got into the car, sat in the rear passenger
seat, was told to get out and get up in the front
driver's side. Mablin said at this point, they drove
under an underpass, under the tracks. He said it was out past
Hy-Vee, going into south Clinton. He told me once they made
it under the under pass, they took an immediate left and then
took another immediate left into a curve. He said they drove
slowly back here. He said the driver was on the cell phone
the whole time and the subject he knew as "B" was
calling him a "snitch", calling him a
"cop" and said "F him up like this".
Mablin told me at this point he was in fear of his safety as
they were going into an area he wasn't familiar with in
Mablin said the driver grabbed at his arm. I asked which arm
and he said it was the left. I did not see any marks on his
arm. He then said somebody grabbed his neck. Mablin then
opened up the passenger side door and he told me he rolled
out. I asked him how he got the marks on his face and the cut
on his hand. He said he did not know.
told Officer Sager he had $347 with him and had given it to
one of the people in the car because he was going to buy
crack. The officer "asked if it was okay if l could take
his clothes with me as they were part of the assault scene
and I thought there may be blood on from the suspects on the
clothes." Mablin agreed, and Officer Sager "placed
them into some bags I had from the hospital and took them to
my squad car."
aunt, Sharon Holmes, had accompanied Mablin to the hospital
and told Officer Sager that Mablin arrived at her home at
4:30 p.m. and was bloody. Mablin told her he was in a car
with some people, had some money taken, and was pushed out of
the car. Holmes said that when Mablin entered he asked to
wash his clothes, which included a blue "puffy"
winter coat, an orange swimsuit, tan pants, blue polo shirt,
underwear, and a pair of socks. Holmes gave Mablin clothes to
wear and took him to the hospital.
was taken to get x-rays. While Officer Sager was in the
waiting room, he received a call from Officer Dean Ottens,
"telling me Mablin may be involved in an incident on
South 3rd Street."
Brian Pohl arrived at the hospital about 7:30 p.m. and spoke
with Mablin's aunt. Holmes told Officer Pohl that Mablin
arrived at her house about 4:30 p.m. and she saw that his
left hand was bleeding. He was wearing brown pants and a
"black puffy coat." Mablin asked if he could wash
his clothes and he "put all his clothes in the washing
machine" and started it. Holmes gave Mablin some of his
uncle's clothes (Leon Holmes) to put on and then drove
him to the emergency room.
Pohl spoke with Mablin:
I went in to speak with Mablin. I noticed his left [hand]
wrapped and a significant amount of blood on the bed sheet,
underneath his left hand. I asked Mablin what happened. He
stated he got robbed. Mablin indicated he left work from
Wal-Mart around 0100 hours on 12/13/07. He walked to Leon
Holmes' house, knocked, but nobody answered the door. He
ended up with Charles LNU, whom he described as a black male
living somewhere off Bluff. Mablin indicated he partied with
Charles for a period of time. He received his wages from
Wal-Mart on 12/13/07.
Mablin stated the next morning, sometime after he woke up, he
walked toward the bread store, down 4th Street, and located
"B", driving a silver or gray Cadillac. Mablin
indicated he got in with "B", in the front seat.
Mablin stated he planned to purchase crack cocaine from
"B". Mablin stated two other people sat in the back
seat. Mablin indicated they drove around for a short period.
"B" drove the vehicle and started accusing of him
of being a "narc". Mablin indicated they started
fighting, took his billfold, and took the money out of it.
Mablin indicated he opened the passenger door and jumped out
of the vehicle. In the process, Mablin cut his hand on the
door. This happened near the Dairy Queen on Camanche Avenue.
who described herself as a former crack addict, approached
Officer Pohl at the hospital and stated she knew Mablin, knew
he got off work at about 1:00 a.m., and knew he did not show
up at the Victory Center after work on December 13. She told
the officer she knew "B" or "Big Lord,"
his real name was Flinda, and he drove a gray colored
Pohl's report indicates, "I asked Mablin to come
down to the police department. I asked if his aunt or uncle
could give him a ride. He agreed to go, if they gave him a
ride." Leon Holmes agreed to give Mablin a ride, and
Sharon informed Officer Pohl she was taking her two small
children home. Officer Pohl told Officer Sager to take Sharon
Holmes back to her residence and asked Holmes "not to
disturb any of Mablin's clothing or blood." Officer
Pohl spoke again with Mablin, informed him "Leon planned
to bring him to the police department. He agreed to
Pohl's report indicates he remained at the emergency room
until Mablin's release and "Mablin got into
Leon's vehicle." Officer Pohl arrived at the police
station at "2044 hours."
and his uncle drove to the police station to provide
Mablin's statement about the robbery. Officers Pohl and
Department of Criminal Investigations Special Agent Matt
George were instructed by their superior to speak with
Mablin. A partial transcript of the interview is provided,
though the transcriber begins with the caveat, "The
first 23:04 minutes of the recording are