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Case No. 19-0214

State of Iowa
Gregory Michael Davis

Gregory Davis seeks further review of the court of appeals opinion affirming Davis’s conviction for first-degree murder and holding his trial counsel did not provide ineffective assistance for failing to object to the marshaling instruction for first-degree murder, which did not include a reference to his insanity defense.

Trial Court Case No.:


State of Iowa


Gregory Michael Davis

Attorney for the Resister

Louis S. Sloven

Attorneys for the Applicant

Alfredo Parrish
Andrew Dunn

Supreme Court

Oral Argument Schedule


Oct 14, 2020 1:30 PM


Supreme Court Opinion

Opinion Number:
Date Published:
Nov 13, 2020

Court of Appeals

Court of Appeals Opinion

Opinion Number:
Date Published:
Apr 29, 2020

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Sean W. McPartland, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Heard by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Ahlers, JJ.  Opinion by Greer, J.  Dissent by Ahlers, J.  (26 pages)

            Gregory Davis appeals his conviction for first-degree murder, raising challenges to the jury instructions and the competence of his trial counsel.  Davis challenges (1) the marshaling instruction for first-degree murder; (2) the intoxication instruction; (3) the reference to diminished capacity in the marshaling instructions for general-intent lesser-included offenses; (4) the effectiveness of his counsel in questioning one of the experts on Davis’s intent; and (5) the cumulative effect of these alleged errors.  OPINION HOLDS: We find Davis failed to preserve error on claims (1) and (3), but even so, these claims fail.  We find no error in the district court’s giving of an intoxication instruction.  We preserve claim (4) for a possible postconviction-relief application.  Given our rulings on claims (1)–(4), we find claim (5) without merit.  We affirm Davis’s conviction.  DISSENT ASSERTS: Failing to include a cross-reference to defenses in the marshaling instruction for the first-degree murder charge while including the cross-reference in the marshaling instructions for all lesser-included charges created confusing and misleading instructions.  Trial counsel’s failure to object was deficient performance that resulted in prejudice to Davis and constituted ineffective assistance of counsel.  Davis should receive a new trial as a result. 

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