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State v. Fitzpatrick

Court of Appeal of Iowa

November 20, 2013

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
SPENCER RAY FITZPATRICK, Defendant-Appellant.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, William A. Price, District Associate Judge.

The defendant has appealed from a judgment and sentence entered pursuant to his plea of guilty to the offense of carrying a concealed weapon in violation of Iowa Code section 724.4(3)(b) (2013).

Mark C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Shellie L. Knipfer, Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Jean C. Pettinger, Assistant Attorney General, John Sarcone, County Attorney, and Thomas Desio and Kevin Hathaway, Assistant County Attorneys, for appellee.

Considered by Vogel, P.J., Mullins, J., and Goodhue, S.J. [*]

GOODHUE, S.J.

The defendant has appealed from a judgment and sentence entered pursuant to his plea of guilty to the offense of carrying a concealed weapon, in violation of Iowa Code section 724.4(3)(b) (2013).

I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

The defendant entered a written plea of guilty to the offense of carrying a concealed weapon on March 22, 2013. The defendant waived his right to a verbatim record of the proceedings, including the sentencing hearing, and requested immediate sentencing. The trial information had charged him with the aggravated misdemeanor of carrying a knife, in violation of section 724.4 of the Iowa Code.

Pursuant to the plea agreement, he was sentenced to the serious misdemeanor charge of violating section 724.4(3)(b) of the Iowa Code. The aggravated misdemeanor, section 724.4(3)(a), specifies that the knife blade must exceed eight inches, while the serious misdemeanor, section 724.4(3)(b), specifies that the "knife has a blade exceeding five inches but not exceeding eight inches in length." The defendant's written plea of guilty set out the following factual basis for the charge, "I admit I did the following: On or about 2/14/13 in Polk Co., IA I had a knife concealed on/near me w/in my control greater than 5" (knife)."

The defendant failed to file a motion in arrest of judgment but has appealed claiming ineffective assistance of counsel for not ensuring there was a factual basis for the plea. Specifically, the defendant contends that the factual basis set out in the plea of guilty did not state or reflect that the blade did not exceed eight inches in length as required by Iowa Code section 724.4(3)(b).

II. Scope and Standard of Review.

A claim that counsel was ineffective for permitting a defendant to plead guilty to an offense where there is no factual basis and then failing to file a motion in arrest of judgment is an exception to the error preservation requirement. State v. Keene, 630 N.W.2d 579, 581 (Iowa 2001). Ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claims involve a constitutional ...


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