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State v. Haltom

Court of Appeal of Iowa

November 6, 2013

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
PAUL ANTHONY HALTOM, Defendant-Appellant.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Scott D. Rosenberg, Judge.

Paul Anthony Haltom appeals from the judgment and sentence entered following his conviction of third-offense operating while intoxicated as a habitual offender.

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

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Jean C. Pettinger, Assistant Attorney General, John P. Sarcone, County Attorney, and Kevin Bell, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee.

Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Mullins and Tabor, JJ.

MULLINS, J.

Paul Anthony Haltom appeals from the judgment and sentence entered following his conviction of third-offense operating while intoxicated (OWI) as a habitual offender. He contends there is insufficient evidence that he is a habitual offender under Iowa Code section 902.9 (2011), and therefore, the district court entered an illegal sentence when it applied the habitual offender enhancement.

After Haltom pled guilty to operating while intoxicated, he agreed to trial on the stipulated minutes of evidence as to the allegations of prior OWI offenses and prior felonies. The district court found those minutes show he was convicted of two prior OWIs and two prior felonies. The district court properly found Haltom was subject to the habitual offender sentencing enhancement. We affirm.

I. BACKGROUND FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS.

The State charged Haltom with operating while intoxicated, third offense, as a habitual offender. With regard to the habitual offender enhancement, the trial information alleged Haltom had two prior felony convictions: one in 2004 and one in 1990. The minutes of evidence list two witnesses who could testify about these convictions. With regard to the 1990 conviction, the amended minutes of evidence state: "The witness will produce and can testify regarding certified records which document that the defendant, was previously convicted of Operating a Motor Vehicle While Under the Influence of Alcohol, or a Drug— Fourth Offense, a Class D Felony, on or about April 2, 1990 . . . ."

When Haltom pled guilty to operating while intoxicated, he did not admit to his prior convictions. Pursuant to Iowa Rule of Criminal Procedure 2.19(9), [1] a jury trial was scheduled to address the question of whether Haltom's charge qualified as a third offense and whether Haltom was a habitual offender as required for the sentencing enhancements.

On the day of trial, Haltom moved to exclude the court records of his 1990 conviction from evidence because the records show a conviction for operating while intoxicated, fourth offense—a charge that does not exist under Iowa statute. Haltom's counsel stated:

The documents are vague. Nothing on the document says that it was a felony. Perhaps this was ultimately a conviction for a true second offense and they call it a fourth offense because that's how many he had in a lifetime, but I don't know how they operate in Warren County, if they just call it by how many it is you have in a lifetime or what.
But I would object to it on the basis of being more prejudicial to Mr. Haltom [than] probative and not being relevant in that on the face of it it doesn't present itself as a felony conviction. There's also no language in the sentencing order, the judgment order, advising that it's a felony conviction or anything like firearms rights or any of the language similar ...

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