Man didn’t prove ineffective assistance of counsel

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The Indiana Supreme Court affirmed the denial of post-conviction relief for a man who charged his attorney was ineffective for not doing a better job arguing the sufficiency of the evidence to prove the defendant conspired to commit dealing cocaine.

Anthony Hollowell was arrested and charged in 2010 with Class B felony conspiracy to commit dealing in cocaine, Class B felony dealing in cocaine and Class D felony possession of cocaine after allegedly selling cocaine to a man who then sold the drug to an undercover detective. He was only convicted of the conspiracy charge.

Grant Jenkins was approached by a confidential informant and the undercover detective about buying cocaine. Jenkins made a phone call, which led to Hollowell arriving in his truck. Jenkins approached the truck, gave Hollowell the money and then received the drug from Hollowell. Police arrested him in the truck at a nearby location.

Hollowell was represented by an attorney at trial and on appeal, but pursued post-conviction relief on his own.

His PCR petition essentially argued that his attorney was deficient by not arguing on appeal the lack of circumstantial evidence to support his conspiracy conviction. But his attorney did challenge the sufficiency of the evidence. The attorney did not focus upon or mention specifically the alleged lack of circumstantial evidence to support the state’s claim that Hollowell entered an agreement with Jenkins, Justice Robert Rucker wrote in Anthony Hollowell v. State of Indiana, 49S02-1310-PC-684.

There was a misstatement in the Court of Appeal’s opinion: that Hollowell had the buy money the detective had used for the drug transaction in his possession. But there was no evidence before the jury that he had been found in possession of that money.

Nonetheless, Hollowell failed to show a reasonable probability that but for counsel’s failure to argue the sufficiency claim with more specificity, the result of his direct appeal would have been any different. The PCR court did not err in denying Hollowell’s claim that his appellate attorney rendered ineffective assistance of counsel, the justices held.

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