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APPEAL FROM THE MADISON CIRCUIT COURT. Cause No. 48D01-9609-CF-208. The Honorable Dennis Carroll, Judge.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: CYNTHIA M. CARTER, Indianapolis, Indiana.
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: GREGORY F. ZOELLER, Attorney General of Indiana, MONIKA PREKOPA TALBOT, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, Indiana.
FRIEDLANDER, J., and
KIRSCH, J., concur.
In 1997, in Madison Circuit Court, Juan Manzano (" Manzano" ) pleaded guilty to and was convicted of Class A felony rape and ordered to serve fifty years executed in the Department of Correction. Manzano has now filed a petition for post-conviction relief arguing that his trial counsel and appellate counsel were ineffective. The post-conviction court denied his petition, and Manzano appeals.
Concluding that Manzano did not receive ineffective assistance of trial or appellate counsel, we affirm.
Facts and Procedural History
On September 14, 1996, Manzano's now ex-wife left their two children in his care while she worked an overnight shift for her employer. While his six-year-old daughter and four-year-old son were sleeping, Manzano went to several bars with two co-workers and consumed alcohol. When Manzano returned home sometime in the early morning hours on September 14, he removed B.M., his six-year-old daughter, from her bed, removed her clothing and placed the child in his bed. Manzano then raped his daughter. As a result, six-year-old B.M. suffered a tear from the opening of her vagina to the opening of her rectum.
The following morning, after his wife returned home, Manzano went to work at the Red Gold Factory. Shortly thereafter, B.M. appeared in the kitchen with blood on her legs. B.M.'s mother called the police and took B.M. to the emergency room. B.M. had emergency surgery to repair her injury and was hospitalized for several days.
B.M. identified Manzano as her attacker, and Manzano was arrested later that morning. He gave a statement to the police and initially claimed that he did not remember anything that had happened. However, he stated that if B.M. claimed that he raped her, he must have done so. Manzano later admitted that he attempted to put his penis " inside her vagina" and remembered B.M. saying " no . . . over and over." Appellant's App. pp. 243-45.
On September 16, 1996, Manzano was charged with Class A felony child molesting, Class A felony rape, Class B felony incest, and Class C felony battery. Prior to pleading guilty, Manzano filed a notice of intent to pursue an intoxication defense and a motion to suppress his statement to the police. A suppression hearing was scheduled for April 7, 1997, but on that date, Manzano agreed to plead guilty to Class A felony rape. At the sentencing hearing held on May 5, 1997, the trial court ordered Manzano to serve fifty years executed in the Department of Correction. Our court affirmed his fifty-year sentence on direct appeal. Manzano v. State, 691 N.E.2d 517 (Ind.Ct.App. 1998).
On February 28, 2006, Manzano filed a pro se petition for post-conviction relief. The State denied the allegations in the petition. Manzano's petition languished until June 8, 2012, when he filed an amended petition. Shortly thereafter, counsel entered an appearance on Manzano's behalf. The post-conviction court held evidentiary hearings on February 25 and April 15, 2013. The court found that Manzano did not receive ineffective assistance of trial and appellate counsel and denied his petition for post-conviction relief. Manzano now appeals. Additional facts will be provided as necessary.
I. Post--Conviction Standard of Review
Post-conviction proceedings are not " super appeals" through which convicted persons can raise issues they failed to raise at trial or on direct appeal. McCary v. State, 761 N.E.2d 389, 391 (Ind. 2002). Rather, post-conviction proceedings afford petitioners a limited opportunity to raise issues that were unavailable or unknown at trial and on direct appeal. Davidson v. State, 763 N.E.2d 441, 443 (Ind. 2002). A post-conviction petitioner bears the burden of establishing grounds for relief by a preponderance of the evidence. Henley v. State, 881 N.E.2d 639, 643 (Ind. 2008). On appeal from the denial of post-conviction relief, the petitioner stands in the position of one appealing from a negative judgment. Id. To prevail on appeal from the denial of ...