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Case No. 19-0834

Harlan Mott Jr.
State of Iowa


Harlan Mott Jr.


State of Iowa

Attorney for the Appellant

John J. Bishop

Attorney for the Appellee

Kyle Hanson, Assistant Attorney General

Court of Appeals

Court of Appeals Opinion

Opinion Number:
Date Published:
Jan 21, 2021

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Joseph W. Seidlin, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., May, J., and Potterfield, S.J.  Opinion by Potterfield, S.J.  (7 pages)

            Harlan Mott appeals from the denial of his application for postconviction relief (PCR) challenging his 2007 conviction of first-degree kidnapping.  As he did to the district court, Mott contends his trial counsel denied him effective assistance by failing “to even consider pursuing an expert witness that might either call into question” the complaining witness’s diagnosis of PTSD and whether it fit the legal definition of serious injury.  For the first time on appeal, he also argues his PCR counsel denied him effective assistance by failing to obtain an expert witness to testify at the PCR hearing as to what he or she would have said to counter the State’s expert at the underlying trial if trial counsel had sought their opinion.  OPINION HOLDS: Because we do not know if an expert who would have challenged the PTSD diagnosis even exists, we cannot find fault with either trial counsel’s or PCR counsel’s representation for failing to obtain such a witness.  Mott’s claims of ineffective assistance fail.

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