from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Bradley
J. Harris, Judge.
inmate appeals the denial of his application for
Benjamin D. Bergmann and Gina Messamer of Parrish Kruidenier
Dunn Boles Gribble Gentry Brown & Bergmann L.L.P., Des
Moines, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Genevieve Reinkoester,
Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.
Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Mullins and May, JJ.
Lane is serving an indeterminate fifty-year prison sentence
on his convictions for sexual abuse in the second degree and
burglary in the first degree. On direct appeal, we upheld the
district court's denial of Lane's motion to suppress
and found sufficient evidence for his convictions. Now, in
his push for postconviction relief (PCR), Lane contends his
trial counsel was remiss in numerous ways. On de novo review,
we find Lane received competent representation in his
criminal case and affirm the PCR court's denial of
relief. We also reject his claim of an illegal sentence.
Facts and Prior Proceedings
September 2013, a man wearing a ski mask and dark clothing
opened the door to nineteen-year-old J.C.'s bedroom in
the early morning hours. The intruder displayed a knife and
warned, "If you scream, I'll kill you." He
covered her mouth with duct tape. The intruder then
brutalized and sexually assaulted J.C.
the intruder left, J.C. peeked out her window and saw the
taillights of a Ford Mustang. J.C. suspected the driver was
Lane because he was in her apartment earlier in the evening
playing video games with one of her roommates. J.C. also
remembered Lane had parked that model of car on the street
when he was visiting. J.C. also suspected Lane was the
intruder based on his heavy-set build. J.C. asked one of her
roommates to call 911. When the police arrived, J.C. placed
Lane in the spotlight as the prime suspect. Police also
learned Lane once lived at the same apartment, before J.C.
moved in, and may have retained a key.
investigating officer noted J.C. was bleeding from the sexual
assault. An ambulance took J.C. to the hospital where she
required surgery to repair vaginal lacerations.
officers went to the house where twenty-one-year-old Lane
lived with his parents. They found a "still warm"
Ford Mustang parked outside. After knocking at the door at
5:30 a.m., the officers explained their investigation and
asked Lane if he would come to the Cedar Falls police station
to answer some questions. Lane's mother drove him to the
station in her car.
Lane arrived at the station, Investigator Gavin Carman
instructed his mother to wait in the lobby while they
interviewed him. She said: "Well, then I'll send an
attorney." The officer said Lane did not need an
attorney because he was just giving a statement. Turning to
Lane, the officer said: "You don't want an attorney,
do you, Ben?" Lane responded, "Mom, I'm
Carman took Lane to an interview room, placing him closest to
the door. Lieutenant Brooke Krantz advised Lane he was free
to leave. Lane retained possession of his cell phone
throughout the interview. Those two officers, neither in
uniform, questioned Lane about the sexual assault. Intially,
Lane denied going to J.C.'s room after he had left the
house that night. Lane said he went to Taco Bell and then to
the interview, officers saw dried blood on Lane's knee.
Lane could not explain how the blood got there. The officer
asked if he had suffered any injury, and Lane said no. The
officer then asked for Lane's consent to a search of his
person, including taking a sample of the dried blood. Lane
also consented to a search of his vehicle but said he felt
like he was being forced. Because the car was registered to
Lane's mother, the officers obtained a search warrant. As
they obtained the warrant, the officers told Lane he was no
longer free to leave. An officer informed Lane of his
Miranda rights and left him alone in the interview
minutes later, Lane knocked on the door to catch the
officer's attention. Lane asked to speak with his mother,
but the officer informed him that she had left. Just a few
seconds after the officer returned to his desk, Lane called
him again. As soon as the officer opened the door, Lane
blurted out: "I did it. I'm pleading guilty."
that spontaneous confession, Investigator Carman advised Lane
to sit down and they would talk. The officer found Lane
breathing heavily and in a state of distress, repeating he
did not know why he did what he did. The officer asked
follow-up questions to have Lane provide a sequence of
events. Lane admitted keeping a key from when he was a
tenant. Lane recounted the path he took to J.C.'s room.
Lane explained what he did when he was in J.C.'s room. He
also provided the exact locations of key evidence. The items
included a knife, duct tape, pants, and socks. The officer
took DNA swabs from Lane's hands, mouth, and knee.
Testing confirmed J.C.'s blood was on the knife, the duct
tape, Lane's pants, his sock, and his knee.
State charged Lane with burglary in the first degree, in
violation of Iowa Code section 713.3 (2013), and sexual abuse
in the second degree, in violation of section 709.3. A few
months later, Lane moved to suppress his statements and
related evidence, claiming (1) he was denied his rights under
Iowa Code section 804.20 because police did not allow him to
see his mother; (2) he did not knowingly and intelligently
waive his Miranda rights; and (3) he did not knowingly,
voluntarily, and intelligently consent to a search of his
hearing, the district court denied the motion to suppress.
The court found the police had not violated section 804.20.
The court determined the officer properly gave Lane his
Miranda warnings, and Lane understood and acknowledged those
rights. The court additionally concluded Lane voluntarily
consented to a search of his person. After losing his
suppression motion, Lane waived his right to a jury trial. At
the end of his bench trial, the district court found Lane
guilty as charged. The court specifically found,
"J.C.'s testimony was highly credible." Our
court affirmed his convictions against claims the district
court improperly denied ...