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Ennenga v. State

Court of Appeal of Iowa

July 10, 2013

ROGER B. ENNENGA, Applicant-Appellant,
v.
STATE OF IOWA, Respondent-Appellee.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Calhoun County, Joel E. Swanson, Judge.

Applicant appeals the decision of the district court denying his application for postconviction relief from his conviction for escape.

Robert E. Peterson, Carroll, for appellant.

Roger Ennenga, Newton, pro se.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Jean Pettinger, Assistant Attorney General, Cynthia Voorde, County Attorney, for appellee State.

Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., Bower, J., and Huitink, S.J. [*]

HUITINK, S.J.

I. Background Facts & Proceedings.

Roger Ennenga was previously convicted of a felony and placed in the custody of the Iowa Department of Corrections. In October 2007 he was an inmate at a correctional facility in Calhoun County, Iowa. He was allowed out of prison to work at a private company. Ennenga and other prisoners were transported from the correctional facility to the worksite and back again, and they were supervised while working. Ennenga left the jobsite on October 30, 2007, and went to South Dakota, where he was captured a few hours later.

Ennenga was charged with escape, in violation of Iowa Code section 719.4(1) (2007), as a habitual offender. He entered into a plea agreement with the State in which he pleaded guilty to escape, and the habitual offender portion of the charge was dropped. Ennenga was sentenced to a term of imprisonment not to exceed five years, to be served consecutively to other sentences. His direct appeal was dismissed as frivolous. See Iowa R. App. P. 6.1005.

On September 21, 2009, Ennenga filed an application for postconviction relief, claiming he received ineffective assistance because his defense counsel did not fully investigate the charge of escape and permitted him to plead guilty to the charge when there was not a sufficient factual basis for it. He claimed defense counsel improperly advised him to plead guilty to escape, in violation of section 719.4(1), a class "D" felony, when he was only guilty of voluntary absence from a facility, in violation of section 719.4(3), a serious misdemeanor.

A hearing was held June 9, 2010. Defense counsel testified that with the habitual offender enhancement, Ennenga was facing up to fifteen years in prison, and he was offered a plea bargain for five years. Defense counsel stated that before he advised Ennenga to plead guilty to escape he had researched the issue of whether Ennenga was potentially guilty of voluntary absence from a facility and attempted to get a plea deal for the lesser charge. However, after further research and discussions with the county attorney, defense counsel came to believe escape was the correct charge, and he recommended Ennenga accept the plea bargain.

Ennenga testified he believed he was only guilty of voluntary absence from a facility. He stated he believed by being out of the prison working he was on furlough. Ennenga recognized this was an issue at the time he pleaded guilty.

On June 16, 2010, the district court denied his request for postconviction relief, finding Ennenga had not shown he received ineffective assistance of counsel. The court found the evidence showed defense counsel conducted extensive research on the issue of whether Ennenga was guilty of escape or voluntary absence from a facility. The court also ...


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