review from the Iowa Court of Appeals.
from the Iowa District Court for Winnebago County, Gregg R.
seeks further review of a court of appeals decision affirming
a sentence imposed by the district court that forfeited a
$2000 cash bail to pay the financial obligations imposed by
the sentence. DECISION OF COURT OF APPEALS AFFIRMED IN PART
AND VACATED IN PART; DISTRICT COURT JUDGMENT AND SENTENCE
AFFIRMED IN PART, REVERSED IN PART, AND REMANDED WITH
C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Vidhya K. Reddy,
Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, Katherine M. Krickbaum (until
withdrawal), then Thomas J. Ogden and Kevin Cmelik, Assistant
Attorneys General, and Adam D. Sauer, County Attorney, for
R. Ostergren, County Attorney, for amicus curiae Iowa County
case, we consider whether a sentence in a criminal case may
include a provision for the forfeiture of a pretrial bail
bond in payment of the various financial obligations imposed
as a part of the sentence. We conclude a sentencing court in
Iowa is not authorized to impose forfeiture of bail. We
vacate the decision of the court of appeals in part and
affirm it in part. We affirm the sentence of the district
court in part, reverse in part, and remand with directions.
Factual Background and Proceedings.
August 28, 2013, the Forest City Police Department took
Patrick Letscher and another person into custody and filed a
complaint accusing them of stealing a pickup truck. A
magistrate set bail at $2000, cash only. Two days later,
Letscher posted the bail with the clerk of court. He also
signed a form entitled, "APPEARANCE BOND - WAIVER OF
ARRAIGNMENT - AUTHORIZATION OF PLEAS OF GUILTY, "
ostensibly provided to him by the clerk. The form contained
preprinted text with several blank lines requesting
information. The blanks were completed and identified
Letscher's name, the offenses charged, the date and time
of the preliminary hearing, and the amount of bail. The text
included two set-off paragraphs with an underlined lead-in
next to each. The paragraphs provided, "(Arresting
officer to check the one that applies)."
___ SIMPLE MISDEMEANOR - Upon my failure to appear and enter
a plea to said charge, I hereby waive my rights to appear in
Court, to have an attorney, to further move or plea, and to
have a trial. On my failure to appear, I authorize the Court
to enter a plea of guilty to the charge set out above and I
understand that my bond will be forfeited in payment of
fines, surcharges, costs and victim restitution in this
matter and any other criminal judgment(s) against me in
Winnebago County. The Surety whose name appears below agrees
and consents to such payment.
___ OTHER - The bond is posted to insure my appearance in
Court on said date and time and at all future court
appearances until these matters are concluded and to comply
with all future court orders. I UNDERSTAND THAT IF I DO NOT
APPEAR, THIS BOND MAY BE FORFEITED AND A WARRANT FOR MY
ARREST MAY BE ISSUED IF THE COURT SO ORDERS. I authorize the
Clerk of Court to use this bail bond to pay all fines,
surcharges, costs and victim restitution that I may be
ordered to pay by the Court in the final judgment of this
matter or any other criminal judgment(s) against me in
paragraph marked "OTHER" was checked as the
pertinent provision. The form then stated, "Posted by,
" and contained a line for the defendant's signature
and address. Letscher signed his name on this line. He was
released from custody.
was subsequently charged by trial information with the felony
crimes of theft in the first degree and criminal mischief in
the second degree. The charges were later amended to include
habitual felony offender enhancements. In August of 2014,
Letscher entered a written plea of guilty to the theft charge
pursuant to a plea agreement. Under this agreement, the State
promised to concur in the sentencing recommendation of the
presentence investigator, dismiss the habitual felony
offender enhancement, dismiss the criminal mischief charge,
and dismiss all charges against the other person arrested
with Letscher. The written plea identified, and the court
reiterated, Letscher's understanding of the maximum
penalties, including a fine up to $10, 000, ten years in
custody, a thirty-five percent surcharge on the fine, court
costs, and reimbursement of attorney fees. The district court
subsequently sentenced Letscher to a period of incarceration
not to exceed ten years. It refused to suspend the period of
incarceration and grant probation. It ...