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Rhoades v. State

Court of Appeal of Iowa

October 2, 2013

NICK RHOADES, Applicant-Appellant,
v.
STATE OF IOWA, Respondent-Appellee.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, David F. Staudt, Judge.

Nick Rhoades appeals from the district court's denial of his application for postconviction relief.

Christopher R. Clark and Scott A. Schoettes of Lambda Legal Defense & Education Fund, Inc., Chicago, Illinois, and Joseph C. Glazebrook and Dan L. Johnston of Glazebrook & Moe, LLP, Des Moines, for appellant.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Kevin Cmelik, Assistant Attorney General, Thomas J. Ferguson, County Attorney, and Kimberly Griffith, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee State.

Earl Kavanaugh of Harrison & Dietz-Kilen, P.L.C., Des Moines, and Tracy Welsh of HIV Law Project, New York, New York, for amicus curiae National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors, The Center For HIV Law and Policy, and HIV Law Project.

Heard by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Doyle, J., and Goodhue, S.J. [*]

DOYLE, J.

Nick Rhoades appeals from the district court's denial of his application for postconviction relief following his 2009 plea of guilty to criminal transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), contending his trial counsel was ineffective for permitting him to plead guilty to a charge which lacked a factual basis. Upon our review, we affirm the order denying Rhoades' application for postconviction relief.

I. Background Facts and Proceedings

Nick Rhoades is HIV positive. He met A.P. in an online chat room. After conversing via computer for an hour or so, they decided Rhoades would drive from his home in Waverly to A.P.'s home in Cedar Falls so they could meet in person. Once there, Rhoades and A.P. talked, had drinks, and ultimately engaged in consensual sexual acts. These acts included A.P. performing unprotected oral sex on Rhoades, in which Rhoades's penis penetrated A.P.'s mouth, and protected anal intercourse, in which Rhoades' penis penetrated A.P.'s anus.[1] Although Rhoades was aware of his HIV status and was receiving medical treatment for his condition, he either withheld or misrepresented his HIV status to A.P.

Thereafter, A.P. became aware of Rhoades's HIV status and contacted the police. Rhoades was charged by trial information with criminal transmission of HIV, in violation of Iowa Code section 709C.1 (2007). He entered a plea of guilty, which the court accepted.

The court sentenced Rhoades to twenty-five years in prison and lifetime registration as a sex offender. Several months later, the court reconsidered Rhoades's sentence, and it suspended his prison sentence and placed him on supervised probation for five years. Rhoades did not appeal his conviction.

Rhoades filed an application for postconviction relief, raising claims of ineffective assistance of trial counsel and essentially alleging there was no factual basis to support his plea of guilty. Following a hearing, the court denied Rhoades's application.

Rhoades appeals that ruling, again asserting his trial counsel was ineffective for permitting him to plead guilty to a charge which lacked a factual basis.[2] We review his ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claims de ...


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