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State v. Brown

Court of Appeal of Iowa

August 21, 2013

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
MICHAEL RICHARD BROWN JR., Defendant-Appellant.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Carol L. Coppola, District Associate Judge.

Michael Richard Brown Jr. appeals his conviction for eluding.

Michael B. Oliver of Oliver Law Firm, P.C., Windsor Heights, for appellant.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Martha E. Trout, Assistant Attorney General, John Sarcone, County Attorney, and Kevin Hathaway, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee.

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

BOWER, J.

Michael Richard Brown Jr. appeals his conviction for eluding. Brown argues his attorney rendered ineffective assistance of counsel by allowing Brown to plead guilty to a crime without a factual basis. Because we find the record factually supported his conviction, we affirm.

I. Background Facts and Proceedings

On September 28, 2012, Officer Bjurstrom of the Des Moines Police Department observed Michael Richard Brown Jr. driving a vehicle with an inoperable center brake light. The officer activated his lights in order to initiate a traffic stop; however, Brown continued driving and completed two additional turns before finally bringing the vehicle to a stop. Brown was then taken into custody for eluding. The officer checked Brown's identity and also learned Brown was barred from driving as a habitual offender.

Brown entered a written guilty plea to driving while barred as a habitual offender, in violation of Iowa Code section 321.561 (2011), and eluding, in violation of Iowa Code section 321.279(1).[1] He was sentenced to 135 days in jail.

II. Standard of Review

Ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claims are reviewed de novo. Lamasters v. State, 821 N.W.2d 856, 862 (Iowa 2012). The claim is established by showing the attorney failed to perform an essential duty and prejudice resulted from the failure. Id. at 865.

III. Discussion

Brown argues his counsel was ineffective for allowing him to plead guilty when the record did not provide a factual basis to support the plea. He contends the record fails to establish the officer was ...


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