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Case No. 21-0380

James Cain Harris
State of Iowa


James Cain Harris


State of Iowa

Attorney for the Appellant

Marti D. Nerenstone

Attorney for the Appellee

Louis S. Sloven, Assistant Attorney General

Court of Appeals

Court of Appeals Opinion

Opinion Number:
Date Published:
May 11, 2022

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Pottawattamie County, Kathleen A. Kilnoski, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Heard by May, P.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Greer, J.  (22 pages)

            James Harris appeals from the denial of his application for post-conviction relief (PCR).  He argues his counsel was ineffective, the court abused its discretion in not appointing substitute counsel, the case was tainted by prosecutorial misconduct, his counsel’s inefficacy lead to cumulative and structural error, and the PCR court’s opinion contained internal inconsistencies.  OPINION HOLDS: Harris failed to prove, on any claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, that his counsel breached an essential duty that prejudiced Harris.  The court did not abuse its discretion in maintaining Harris’s counsel.  There was no prosecutorial misconduct that prejudiced Harris.  There is no presumption of prejudice in ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claims.  There was no cumulative error present, and Harris failed to preserve his structural error challenge.  We find no internal inconsistencies in the PCR court’s opinion and affirm the district court’s ruling.

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