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Case No. 18-0223

Javier Benitez Pizarro
State of Iowa


Javier Benitez Pizarro


State of Iowa

Attorney for the Appellant

Alexander Smith and Benjamin D. Bergmann

Attorney for the Appellee

Thomas J. Ogden, Assistant Attorney General

Court of Appeals

Court of Appeals Opinion

Opinion Number:
Date Published:
Mar 20, 2019

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Scott D. Rosenberg, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Potterfield, P.J., Doyle, J., and Carr, S.J.  Opinion by Potterfield, P.J.  (8 pages)

            Javier Benitez Pizarro appeals the district court’s denial of his application for postconviction relief (PCR).  In the underlying case, Benitez Pizarro entered a guilty plea to possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver.  Here, as he did in front of the PCR court, Benitez Pizarro maintains his trial counsel provided ineffective assistance by failing to (1) effectively plea bargain, (2) inform him of the immigration consequences associated with his plea deal, (3) adequately advocate on Benitez Pizarro’s behalf at sentencing, and (4) prepare Benitez Pizarro for his right of allocution at sentencing.  In the alternative, if we do not find he met his burden of establishing Strickland prejudice, Benitez Pizarro asks that we adopt a new standard for prejudice under the Iowa Constitution and consider his claims under that standard.  OPINION HOLDS: Because Benitez Pizarro has not met his burden to establish that trial counsel breached any essential duties in their representation of him, he cannot establish his claims of ineffective assistance and his new proposed new standard of prejudice is inapposite.  We affirm the denial of his application for PCR.    

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