from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, David P.
applicant challenges the denial of his application for
M. Van Daele of Van Daele Law, LLC, North Liberty, for
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Genevieve Reinkoester,
Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.
Considered by Bower, C.J., and Potterfield and Tabor, JJ.
Daniels challenges the denial of his application for
postconviction relief (PCR), following his 2014 convictions
for possession of or conspiracy to possess more than fifty
grams of cocaine base with the intent to deliver and failure
to possess a drug tax stamp. As he did before the PCR court,
Danielsclaims he received ineffective assistance
from trial counsel when counsel failed to 1) object to
incomplete jury instructions on aiding and abetting and 2)
challenge the two amendments to the trial information.
Daniels also claims he received ineffective assistance from
his direct appeal counsel, maintaining counsel should have
challenged the district court's ruling there was
sufficient evidence to include Latasha Daniels as a
co-conspirator in the marshalling instruction. In his pro se
brief,  Daniels joins the arguments made by
counsel and also argues 1) trial counsel was ineffective for
allowing him to waive his right to be tried within one year
after the one-year deadline had already passed, 2) there was
insufficient evidence to support the alternative theories
presented to the jury, and 3) the verdict against him was not
Background Facts and Proceedings.
police officers were investigating the distribution of crack
cocaine, and they received information that a quantity of the
drug would be arriving by bus from Chicago on January 6,
2013. Surveillance was set up in several locations, including
the bus terminal. Officers observed Derrick Daniels get off
the bus from Chicago with a black duffel bag. He entered a
vehicle driven by his cousin, Latasha Daniels. The car was
subsequently pulled over, and plastic bags containing
approximately sixty-nine grams of crack cocaine were located
in the black duffle bag.
also had two residential addresses under surveillance at the
time. Prior to Derrick arriving on the bus, police observed
Latasha leave a home located at 1223 Mulberry. Shortly after
Latasha picked up Derrick at the bus station, police observed
Daniels leave his residence at 868 Fowler along with his
long-term girlfriend, Mary Frye, and an unknown male, and
drive in the direction of 1223 Mulberry. His vehicle was also
stopped, and officers returned to the Fowler address with
Mary to execute a search warrant.
Fowler residence, police located a receipt for a money
transfer from Mary to Derrick and a car rental agreement. One
of the officers testified it is common to find car rental
agreements during narcotics investigations as drug
traffickers will use rental cars in order to conceal their
identity from officers. Traffickers will also often use the
name and identity of one of their customers in order to
further conceal their identity. The car rental agreement
found at the Fowler residence listed the name of an
individual that the officer knew to be a crack-cocaine user.
Officers located a letter addressed to Latasha, who is
Daniels's daughter, with the Fowler address along with a
letter addressed to Daniels. The officers also located a box
of sandwich baggies in the kitchen and a receipt for a money
gram from Latasha. A canine officer alerted to a nightstand
in the upstairs bedroom, though no narcotics were found.
also executed a search warrant at the Mulberry residence.
Officers found two digital scales, razor blades, and sandwich
baggies, all indicating drugs were weighed and packaged into
individual units for resale in the residence. A prescription
pill bottle with Derrick's name on it was located in a
shoe in a closet. Mail containing Latasha's name with the
Mulberry residence address and the Fowler address was also
located in the Mulberry home.
police station, Officer Nicholas Berry interviewed Daniels,
who told the officer he had a source in Chicago supplying him
with crack cocaine. (The recording system in the interview
room where Officer Berry interviewed Daniels malfunctioned.
Officer Berry's testimony is the only evidence of
Daniels's confession.) Daniels admitted the crack cocaine
Derrick and Latasha were caught with was the result of an
arrangement he had made with his source in Chicago. He told
Officer Berry he was paying $1300 per ounce and receiving two
ounces at a time, three times a month. Officer Berry
testified that one ounce of crack cocaine is a little more
than twenty-eight grams, making the total amount of crack
cocaine seized that day equal to approximately two and
one-half ounces. Officer Berry testified the amount of
cocaine base discovered in the vehicle was consistent with
distribution and not consistent with personal use. Another
officer also testified Daniels gave the Mulberry address as
his own when he was booked into jail.
defense at trial, Daniels called Derrick to testify. Derrick
stated Daniels had nothing to do with the drugs found in his
possession on January 6. While Derrick testified he took full
responsibility for the drugs, on cross-examination Derrick
also stated he was "shocked" when the police
officer removed the drugs from the duffle bag. While he was
carrying the bag, he told police it did not belong to him and
pointed out in his testimony that the bag contained clothing
that was not his and contained Latasha's wallet and
identification. However, he ultimately admitted to knowing
the drugs were in the duffle bag. He also admitted to owning
the digital scales found during the search of the Mulberry
address. At the time of Daniels's trial, Derrick had
already been tried and convicted for possessing the cocaine
base and was awaiting sentencing.
jury found Daniels guilty of possession of, or conspiracy to
possess, over fifty grams of cocaine base and failure to have
a drug tax stamp. Daniels admitted to being a subsequent
offender and was originally sentenced to ninety years in jail
with a one-third mandatory minimum. Following a hearing on a
motion for reconsideration, Daniels was resentenced to a term
of imprisonment not to exceed fifty years with a one-third
filed a direct appeal of his conviction, in which he
challenged the sufficiency of the evidence and maintained his
trial counsel provided ineffective assistance in a number of
respects. The supreme court transferred the case to us, and a
panel of our court affirmed. See Daniels, 2015 WL
9450636, at *12.
filed his application for PCR in 2016. He raised a number of
clams, including that trial counsel breached an essential
duty by failing to object to improper jury instructions
Specifically, Daniels argued he was prejudiced by the failure
of the aiding and abetting instruction to include the
necessary specific intent language, informing the jury that,
because possession with intent to deliver is a specific
intent crime, Daniels could only be guilty by way of aiding
and abetting if ...