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State v. Browder

Court of Appeal of Iowa

September 5, 2013

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
DARNELL ALLEN BROWDER, Defendant-Appellant.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Robert B. Hanson, Judge.

Darnell Browder appeals from the judgment and sentence entered following his plea of guilty to delivery of a controlled substance.

Peter McRoberts of McRoberts Law Office, Des Moines, for appellant.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Jean C. Pettinger, Assistant Attorney General, John Sarcone, County Attorney, and Pamela J. Summers, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee.

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

VAITHESWARAN, J.

Darnell Browder pled guilty to delivery of a controlled substance (cocaine salt hydrochloride) and the district court imposed judgment and sentence. On appeal, Browder contends: (1) he was denied his right to a speedy appeal; (2) his guilty plea was not voluntary and intentional; (3) the district court abused its discretion in denying his motion in arrest of judgment; (4) the district court abused its discretion in denying his motion for the withdrawal of his court-appointed attorney; and (5) the district court abused its discretion in sentencing him to prison.

I. Right to Speedy Appeal

After Browder filed his notice of appeal, there were several delays, the most significant one resulting from a delay in the preparation of the transcript. The sentencing transcript should have been filed within twenty days of the service of a combined certificate. See Iowa R. App. P. 6.803(3)(a). According to the court-reporter who was to prepare the transcript, the transcript was delayed because she was no longer employed by the State of Iowa and had moved out of the area. The Iowa Supreme Court granted the court reporter an extension of time; the transcript was filed approximately five months after it was originally due.

Browder asserts that he had a right to a speedy appeal and this right was violated. He premises the right on our rules of appellate procedure and the federal and state constitutions.

With respect to the claimed rule violations, we are hard-pressed to find that the Iowa Supreme Court "egregiously violated its own orders" by permitting extensions for the filing of a transcript and other appellate matters.

As for the claimed violation of the United States Constitution, there is no recognized right to a speedy appeal under the Sixth Amendment, but delays in criminal proceedings may implicate the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment. See Rheuark v. Shaw, 628 F.2d 297, 302-04 (5th Cir. 1980) ("[W]hen a state provides a right to appeal, it must meet the requirements of due process and equal protection." (citing Douglas v. California, 372 U.S. 353 (1963)). Accord Threatt v. State, 640 S.E.2d 316, 319 (Ga.Ct.App. 2006); State v. Crabtree, 625 S.W.2d 670, 673-74 (Mo.Ct.App. 1981); State v. Burton, 269 P.3d 337, 342 (Wash.Ct.App. 2012); Daniel v. State, 78 P.3d 205, 218 (Wyo. 2003).

Similarly, article I, section 10 of the Iowa Constitution confers a "right to a speedy and public trial, " saying nothing about a speedy appeal. Browder argues, however, that the due process clause of article I, section 9 affords him a right to a speedy appeal. He cites the factors used in analyzing a procedural due process claim: (1) the private interest that will be affected by the government action; (2) the risk of the erroneous deprivation of the interest, and the probable value of additional procedures; and (3) the government interest in the regulation, including the burdens imposed by additional procedures. See State v. Hernandez-Lopez, 639 N.W.2d 226, 240-41 (Iowa 2002). Based on these factors, Browder asserts:

[C]learly [his] right to life and liberty is affected by the long delay in his appeal; considering the explicit rules adopted for expedited appeals, there is a strong risk erroneous deprivation of the right to speedy appeal and the government's interest in affording a speedy appeal has already been taken into consideration in the expedited process of criminal appeals on a plea of guilty and sentence.

We are unclear how these procedural due process factors are implicated under the facts of this case. In any event, Browder has not cited any Iowa precedent that has found a federal or state due process violation based on a delay in preparing the transcript for appeal. Moreover, other jurisdictions considering due process implications in appellate delays have required a showing of actual prejudice, a showing that is absent here. See, e.g., Coutta v. State, 385 S.W.3d 641, 652 (Tex. Ct. App. 2012) ("A violation of due process cannot be established without a showing of prejudice to Appellant."); Burton, 269 P.3d at 345 n.7. We conclude Browder has not made a case for finding a due process violation based on the delay in filing the transcript.

II. Guilty Plea

Browder contends his guilty plea "was not made knowingly and intelligently, " as required by "the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution." Rule 2.8(2)(b) codifies this due process mandate. State v. Loye, 670 N.W.2d 141, 151 (Iowa 2003). It requires the court to "address the defendant personally in open court and inform the ...


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