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State v. Jordan

Court of Appeal of Iowa

July 24, 2013

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
TRAVIS JAMES JORDAN, Defendant-Appellant.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Tama County, Ian K. Thornhill (guilty plea) and Mitchell E. Turner (motion in arrest of judgment and sentencing), Judges.

A defendant challenges the factual basis for his plea to second-degree theft and contends his sentence for that crime should have merged with his sentence for first-degree theft.

Mark C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and David A. Adams and Nan Jennisch, Assistant Appellate Defenders, for appellant.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Martha E. Trout, Assistant Attorney General, and Brent D. Heeren, County Attorney, for appellee.

Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Vaitheswaran and Bower, JJ.

VAITHESWARAN, J.

Travis Jordan challenges the factual basis for his plea to second-degree theft and contends his sentence for that crime should have merged with his sentence for first-degree theft.

I. Background Facts and Proceedings

Jordan stole radiators and tools from a junkyard. To haul away the items, he stole a pickup truck owned by the junkyard.

The State charged Jordan with first-degree theft under Iowa Code sections 714.1(1)[1] and 714.2(1)[2] (2011) and second-degree theft under sections 714.1(1) and 714.2(2), [3] as well as other crimes. Jordan pled guilty to first- and second-degree theft in exchange for dismissal of the other charges.

At the conclusion of the plea colloquy, the district court informed Jordan that any challenge to the plea would have to be raised in a motion in arrest of judgment "made no later than 45 days . . . and not less than five days prior the date set for sentencing." The court also informed him that "failure to raise such a challenge" would preclude him from asserting the issue on appeal.[4]

A new attorney made an appearance after the plea was entered. He belatedly filed a motion in arrest of judgment, asserting in part that the plea lacked a factual basis. The district court concluded the motion was untimely but, alternately, stated "even on the merits, [the motion] would fail."

On appeal, Jordan contends his attorney was ineffective in failing to file a timely motion in arrest of judgment challenging the factual basis for the plea to second-degree theft.[5] He also contends that the district court should have merged his sentences for first- and second-degree theft. Both arguments are ...


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