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State v. Kelly

Court of Appeals of Iowa

November 26, 2014

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
CHRISTOPHER M. KELLY, Defendant-Appellant

Editorial Note:

This decision is published in table format in the North Western Reporter.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Bradley J. Harris, Judge. Christopher Kelly appeals his conviction for credit card forgery as an habitual offender.

Mark C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Rachel C. Regenold, Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Tyler J. Buller, Assistant Attorney General, Thomas J. Ferguson, County Attorney, and Brian Williams, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee.

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

OPINION

VOGEL, P.J.

Christopher Kelly appeals his conviction arising out of his guilty plea to credit card forgery as an habitual offender, in violation of Iowa Code sections 715A.6, 902.8, and 902.9 (2011). Kelly asserts the district court abused its discretion when it denied his motion to substitute counsel and motion in arrest of judgment. We conclude the court properly denied Kelly's motion to substitute and, due to the evidence demonstrating Kelly's plea was entered into voluntarily, the court also correctly denied Kelly's motion in arrest of judgment. Consequently, we affirm.

I. Factual and Procedural Background

On December 13, 2012, Kelly was charged with credit card forgery, a count that was amended on August 28, 2013, to include the habitual offender status, in violation of Iowa Code sections 715A.6, 902.8, and 902.9. A plea hearing was set for May 20, 2013, for which Kelly failed to appear. Another hearing was scheduled for July 29, 2013, at which Kelly also failed to appear. A warrant was issued for his arrest.

On August 28, 2013, Kelly entered a guilty plea to the charge of credit card forgery as an habitual offender, with the State's agreement to lift the warrant. Kelly filed a motion in arrest of judgment on October 7, 2013, which was resisted by the State. A sentencing date was set for November 4, 2013, for which Kelly again failed to appear, and after which an arrest warrant was again issued. The sentencing date was reset to April 7, 2014, and Kelly appeared with counsel, arguing in support of his motion in arrest of judgment and his March 26, 2014 pro se motion for substitute counsel. The district court denied both motions and sentenced Kelly to a term of incarceration not to exceed fifteen years. Kelly appeals.

II. Motion to Substitute Counsel

Kelly first claims the district court erred in summarily denying his motion to substitute counsel. Specifically, Kelly alleges the court should have made a more detailed record regarding his asserted breakdown in the attorney-client relationship.

We review the grant or denial of a motion to substitute counsel for an abuse of discretion. State v. Lopez, 633 N.W.2d 774, 778 (Iowa 2001). To establish the court abused its discretion, Kelly must show the court based its decision " on grounds or for reasons ...


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