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Case No. 18-0542

Joshua Andrew Powell
v.
State of Iowa

Appellant

Joshua Andrew Powell

Appellee

State of Iowa

Attorneys for Appellant

Nathan A. Mundy

Attorneys for Appellee

Linda J. Hines, Assistant Attorney General

Court of Appeals

Court of Appeals Opinion

Opinion Number:
18-0542
Date Published:
Jun 19, 2019
Summary

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Boone County, William C. Ostlund, Judge.  AFFIRMED. Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Tabor and May, JJ.  Opinion by Vaitheswaran, P.J.  (19 pages)

            Joshua Powell appeals from the denial of his postconviction-relief application, raising various claims of ineffective assistance of trial and appellate counsel.  OPINION HOLDS: We conclude Powell’s trial attorneys did not breach an essential duty in failing to move for a change of venue.  We also conclude Powell’s trial attorneys did not breach an essential duty in declining to present a diminished responsibility or intoxication defense, as they thoughtfully considered those issues.  Additionally, we find Powell’s trial attorneys were not ineffective in handling the testimony of the medical examiner.  Applying precedent, we further conclude Powell’s trial attorneys breached no essential duty in failing to argue his Fifth Amendment right to counsel was violated, and it follows appellate counsel was not ineffective in failing to raise the issue.  And, because substantial evidence supports a finding of malice aforethought in this case, the failure of Powell’s attorneys to challenge that element could not have been prejudicial.  We find Powell’s trial attorneys did not breach an essential duty in failing to challenge the sufficiency of the trial information, and as such it follows that appellate counsel was not ineffective in failing to raise the issue.  Moreover, we agree with the postconviction court’s conclusion that “[e]ven if the trial court erred in not granting the strike for cause,” Powell did not establish prejudice.  Finally, we conclude counsel did not breach an essential duty in failing to request a hearing on the stun device issue.  Accordingly, affirm the postconviction court’s denial of Powell’s postconviction-relief application.

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