This decision is published in table format in the North Western Reporter.
Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Clinton County, Mark R. Lawson, Judge. A defendant appeals his conviction following an Alford plea, alleging ineffective assistance of counsel.
Mark C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Shellie L. Knipfer, Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.
Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Sheryl A. Soich, Assistant Attorney General, and Michael Wolf, County Attorney, for appellee.
Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Vaitheswaran and Potterfield, JJ.
DeWayne Patterson entered an Alford  plea to third-degree kidnapping and other crimes in connection with conduct directed at his girlfriend, Mindi. On appeal, he contends his attorney was ineffective in failing to challenge the plea for lack of a factual basis. While we generally preserve ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claims for postconviction-relief proceedings, our record is adequate to address the issue. State v. Hallock, 765 N.W.2d 598, 602 (Iowa Ct. App. 2009).
Ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claims require proof of a breach of essential duty and prejudice. Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 687, 104 S.Ct. 2052, 80 L.Ed.2d 674 (1984). In this context, an attorney breaches an essential duty if the attorney allows the defendant to enter an Alford plea to an offense for which there is no factual basis. State v. Schminkey, 597 N.W.2d 785, 788 (Iowa 1999). To determine whether there is a factual basis, we examine " the entire record before the district court." State v. Finney, 834 N.W.2d 46, 62 (Iowa 2013). If the record does not disclose a factual basis, prejudice is inherent. Schminkey, 597 N.W.2d at 788.
Had the case gone to trial, the State would have been required to prove Patterson confined Mindi with the specific intent to inflict serious injury or to subject her to sexual abuse and with knowledge he lacked consent or authority to do so. See Iowa Code § § 710.1(3), 710.4 (2013). The district court was required to have a factual basis for these elements, albeit, not proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Finney, 834 N.W.2d at 62.
Patterson " submits there was no showing that he confined [Mindi] against her will and with the specific intent to inflict serious injury or to commit sexual abuse." To the contrary, the record is replete with evidence of confinement and intent to inflict both serious injury and sexual abuse.
Mindi spoke to a police officer about her relationship with Patterson and a summary of the interview is included in the officer's report attached to the minutes of testimony. She told him Patterson did not allow her to leave the home once they started living together.
The most recent series of abusive episodes was triggered by Patterson's anger about one of Mindi's Facebook communications. After learning of the communication, Patterson awoke Mindi by striking her in the face with closed fists. He continued to inflict blows and later smashed her cell phone, cutting off her ability to contact family or 911. See State v. McGrew, 515 N.W.2d 36, 39 (Iowa 1994) (confinement may exist if it " substantially increases the risk of harm to the victim" or " significantly lessens the risk of detection" (citing State v. Rich, 305 N.W.2d 739, 745 (Iowa 1981))).
The abuse did not end here. Mindi gave police a written statement describing repeated punches to her head as well as forced sex. She wrote, " I knew I needed to find a way away from him and get out." Mindi moved from the bedroom to the bathroom, only to have Patterson follow her to the bathroom and " hurr[y]" her back into the bedroom. Later, she told Patterson she intended to go downstairs to fill a water jug. She hoped he would not follow her and she could " just run straight out the door of the house . . . and run for help." Patterson did follow her and hit and pushed her upstairs. While he watched television, she again tried to go downstairs ...