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Paulson v. Newton Corr. Facility

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

December 4, 2014

Robert V. Paulson, II, Petitioner - Appellant
v.
Newton Correctional Facility, Warden, Respondent - Appellee

Submitted September 8, 2014

Appeal from United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa - Des Moines.

For Robert V. Paulson, II, Petitioner - Appellant: Rockne Ole Cole, COLE & VONDRA, Iowa City, IA.

Robert V. Paulson, II, Petitioner - Appellant, Pro se, Newton, IA.

For Newton Correctional Facility, Warden, Respondent - Appellee: Kevin Cmelik, Assistant Attorney General, ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE, Des Moines, IA.

Before BENTON, BEAM, and SHEPHERD, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

SHEPHERD, Circuit Judge.

This case returns to the court after remand to the district court to consider whether the Iowa Court of Appeals' decision in Paulson v. State, No. 07-1108, 759 N.W.2d 2, 2008 WL 4525476 (Iowa Ct. App. Oct. 1, 2008) (table) (unpublished) was " contrary to" clearly established federal law. See Paulson v. Newton Corr. Facility, 703 F.3d 416 (8th Cir. 2013). On remand,

Page 902

the district court[1] determined that the Iowa Court of Appeals' decision was contrary to federal law, and thus the district court conducted a de novo review of Paulson's claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, determining Paulson did not suffer prejudice under Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 104 S.Ct. 2052, 80 L.Ed.2d 674 (1984). Paulson again appeals the district court's denial of his habeas corpus petition filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. We now affirm.

I.

An Iowa jury convicted Robert Paulson of second-degree sexual assault for sexually abusing his five-year-old daughter, M.P. The following evidence was presented at trial. M.P. testified that Paulson touched her in the " wrong spot" and told her to keep it a secret. When asked to identify on a diagram where her father touched her, she identified her chest, but not vaginal area. M.P. further testified that her father did not shower with her when she stayed at his house.

Officer Suzanne Laurence testified that M.P. told her that her father touched her vaginal area. M.P.'s therapeutic counselor, Lori Salsbury, testified that M.P. told her that Paulson crept into her room while she was sleeping and touched her chest and vaginal area. Salsbury also testified that, according to M.P., Paulson had a desire to touch her because he did not have a wife. Officer David McDermott testified that Paulson admitted that he became sexually aroused, thinking of his ex-wife, while showering with M.P.

The jury also heard from Shelly Piner, Paulson's former wife and M.P.'s mother. During Paulson's ...


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