from the Iowa District Court for Dickinson County, David A.
Rodriguez Lopez appeals the order denying his application for
L. Freking of Judy L. Freking, P.C., Le Mars, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Benjamin Parrott, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
Considered by Doyle, P.J., and Tabor and Schumacher, JJ.
Rodriguez Lopez appeals from the order denying his
application for postconviction relief (PCR) from his 2012
conviction for second-degree sexual abuse. Although we review
the denial of a PCR application for correction of errors at
law, see Villa Magana v. State, 908 N.W.2d 255, 259
(Iowa 2018), we review claims of ineffective assistance of
counsel de novo, see Lamasters v. State, 821 N.W.2d
856, 862 (Iowa 2012). To succeed on a claim of ineffective
assistance, a PCR applicant must show counsel breached a duty
and prejudice resulted. See id. We may affirm the
district court's denial of an ineffective-assistance
claim if either element is lacking. See id.
court identified nine claims for PCR and found each failed
because this court rejected it on direct appeal or because
Rodriguez Lopez failed to provide a sufficient reason for not
raising it on direct appeal. See Iowa Code §
822.8 (2015) (stating claims that were finally adjudicated or
not raised in the proceeding that resulted in the conviction
may not be the basis for a subsequent application unless the
court finds a ground for relief for which for sufficient
reason was not asserted or was inadequately raised in the
prior action). Of the claims it found it could analyze under
an ineffective-assistance-of-counsel rubric, the court
determined Rodriguez Lopez failed to show prejudice.
appeal, Rodriguez Lopez argues his PCR counsel was
ineffective by failing to conduct a reasonable investigation
into his claims and to identify all possible grounds for PCR.
He makes the general claim that "there exists a very
reasonable probability that the results of this [PCR] hearing
would have been different" had PCR counsel performed
competently. But the fact that an error "had some
conceivable effect on the outcome of the proceeding" is
not enough to show prejudice. Strickland v.
Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 693 (1984). "The
applicant must state the specific ways in which counsel's
performance was inadequate and identify how competent
representation probably would have changed the outcome."
Dunbar v. State, 515 N.W.2d 12, 15 (Iowa 1994)
(internal citation omitted). Rodriguez Lopez's claim of
ineffective assistance of PCR counsel is too general to
address on appeal. See id.
Lopez also claims ineffective assistance of trial
counsel. He first contends trial counsel was
ineffective by informing the court he would be ready to try
the case, which led the trial court to deny his motion to
continue the trial. Rodriguez Lopez claims he was prejudiced
because trial counsel did not have enough time to investigate
the credibility of the complaining witness. But Rodriguez
Lopez raised a similar claim on direct appeal, where he
argued the trial court's denial of his motion for a
continuance violated his constitutional right to due process
and his right to present a defense. State v. Lopez,
No. 12-1676, 2013 WL 5760608, at *8 (Iowa Ct. App. Oct. 23,
2013). He claimed he needed the continuance so counsel could
investigate whether the complaining witness denied the abuse
to others. Id. And we rejected his claim, finding it
was "too vague and uncertain" and Rodriguez Lopez
failed to show prejudice. See id. at *10. Setting
aside the question of whether Iowa Code section 822.8 bars
Rodriguez Lopez from relitigating the issue, the claim fails
because he offers nothing more than speculation to show
Rodriguez Lopez alleges his trial counsel was ineffective by
misusing the time and resources available, claiming he
"did not have enough time with defense counsel to gain
an understanding of the critical stages of trial nor to gain
a sufficient amount of knowledge and understanding in order
to meaningfully participate in his own defense." He
incorporates several claims raised to and rejected by the PCR
court and repackages them as a claim of ineffective
assistance of counsel. Once again, even assuming section
822.8 does not bar these claims, there is no showing of
Rodriguez Lopez waived his claim of ineffective assistance of
trial counsel based on counsel's failure to object to a
voir dire question; his brief provides no argument and cites
no authority to support it. See Iowa R. App. P.
6.903(2)(g)(3) (stating the appellant's brief must
include an argument section "containing the
appellant's contentions and the reasons for them with
citations to the authorities relied on" and
"[f]ailure to cite authority in support of an issue may
be deemed waiver of that issue"). And we reject
Rodriguez Lopez's claim that the trial court erred in
overruling his motion for judgment of acquittal because
section 822.8 bars it.