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State v. Holzhauser

Court of Appeal of Iowa

July 24, 2013

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
MARK ALAN HOLZHAUSER, Defendant-Appellant.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Christopher L. McDonald, Judge.

Mark Holzhauser appeals his convictions and sentences following a jury's verdict finding him guilty of possession of methamphetamine, failure to affix a drug tax stamp, and possession of marijuana.

Angela Campbell of Dickey & Campbell Law Firm, P.L.C., Des Moines, for appellant.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Kyle Hanson, Assistant Attorney General, John Sarcone, County Attorney, and Andrea Petrovich, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee.

Heard by Potterfield, P.J., and Danilson and Mullins, JJ.

DANILSON, J.

Mark Holzhauser appeals his convictions following a jury's verdicts finding him guilty of possession of methamphetamine, failure to affix a drug tax stamp, and possession of marijuana. On appeal, he asserts the district court abused its discretion when denying each of his two motions to substitute counsel. He also maintains he received ineffective assistance of counsel at trial. We find Holzhauser waived any error in respect to the district court's ruling on the first motion for failing to provide a record of the proceedings. We also conclude the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying the second belated motion to substitute counsel. Finally, we conclude that Holzhauser's counsel did not provide ineffective assistance at trial. We affirm.

I. Background Facts.

In March 2012, officers executed a search warrant for Holzhauser's residence. When searching his person, they found two bags of methamphetamine and three bags of marijuana in his pocket. Holzhauser received Miranda[1] warnings and agreed to speak with officers. During questioning, Holzhauser first denied the recovered drugs were his. He later admitted he obtained the drugs when a friend left them in a hotel room after being arrested.

The drugs were then taken to and analyzed by the Division of Criminal Investigations (DCI) lab. According to the report on file, each of the bags of suspected methamphetamine was tested and weighed; the substance in each was confirmed to be methamphetamine. One bag weighed 6.78 grams and the other 4.46 grams.

On May 9, 2012, Holzhauser filed a motion for new counsel. A week later, the court held a hearing on the issue and denied his motion for "the reasons stated on the record." No record of this hearing has been provided. On June 25, 2012, at the beginning of trial, Holzhauser filed another motion for new counsel. The court again denied the motion. The jury found Holzhauser guilty of possession of methamphetamine, failure to affix a drug tax stamp, and possession of marijuana. He now appeals.

II. Standard of Review.

We review denials of a motion to substitute counsel for an abuse of discretion. State v. Lopez, 633 N.W.2d 774, 778 (Iowa 2001). An abuse of discretion will only be found when "the court exercised the discretion on grounds or for reasons clearly untenable or to an extent unreasonable." Id.

We review claims for ineffective assistance of counsel de novo. State v. Straw, 709 N.W.2d 128, 133 (Iowa 2006).

III. Discussion.

A. Request for New Counsel.


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