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State v. Frazier

Court of Appeal of Iowa

July 24, 2013

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
THOMAS BRYAN FRAZIER, Defendant-Appellant.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Michael D. Huppert, Judge.

Thomas Bryant Frazier appeals his conviction for conspiracy to manufacture a controlled substance, in violation of Iowa Code section 124.401(1)(c)(6) (2011).

Andrea K. Buffington of McEnroe, Gotsdiner, Brewer & Steinbach, P.C., West Des Moines, for appellant.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Benjamin M. Parrott, Assistant Attorney General, John Sarcone, County Attorney, and Steve Bayens, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee.

Heard by Doyle, P.J., Bower, J., and Huitink, S.J. [*]

BOWER, J.

Thomas Bryant Frazier appeals his conviction for conspiracy to manufacture a controlled substance, in violation of Iowa Code section 124.401(1)(c)(6) (2011). Frazier argues the district court erred by failing to inquire, sua sponte, into a potential conflict of interest concerning his trial counsel. Because Frazier waived his conflict of interest argument by entering a guilty plea, we affirm.

I. Background Facts and Proceedings

Thomas Frazier was arrested following a traffic stop during which police uncovered a number of items commonly used to manufacture methamphetamine.[1] Along with Frazier, Roger Pierce and William Smith were charged. The individuals were Mirandized, and Frazier admitted to purchasing pseudoephedrine. All three occupants initially denied involvement in the manufacture of methamphetamine.

Frazier was charged by trial information with three crimes.[2] After pleading not guilty, Frazier agreed to plead guilty to the conspiracy charge. In exchange, the State agreed to dismiss the remaining charges against him. He was subsequently sentenced to an indeterminate term of incarceration not to exceed ten years and ordered to pay a fine, a surcharge, and fees.

Frazier timely filed this appeal and argues because his court-appointed attorney, Pam Summers, had previously represented Pierce in another, unrelated case, the district court had a duty to inquire into the possibility of a conflict of interest.

II. Standard of Review

As Frazier raises a constitutional claim, our review is de novo. State v. Smith, 761 ...


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