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State v. Hauersperger

Court of Appeals of Iowa

January 11, 2017

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
JOHN JOSEPH HAUERSPERGER, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Hardin County, Paul B. Ahlers, District Associate Judge.

         The appellant appeals his guilty plea and sentence, asserting his trial counsel was ineffective and the sentencing court abused its discretion. AFFIRMED.

          Kimberly A. Voss-Orr of Law Office of Kimberly A. Voss-Orr, Ames, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Kelli Huser, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Considered by Potterfield, P.J., Bower, J., and Blane, S.J. [*]

          BLANE, Senior Judge.

         John Joseph Hauersperger appeals his guilty plea and sentence claiming: (1) his trial attorney was ineffective in failing to object to the county attorney's breach of the plea agreement, and (2) the trial court abused its discretion in imposing sentence. After reviewing the record, we find trial counsel was not ineffective and the sentencing court did not abuse its discretion; we affirm.

         I. Procedural Background.

         On March 27, 2015, Hauersperger was charged by trial information with driving while barred in violation of Iowa Code section 321.256 (2015). In August, Hauersperger, while represented by counsel, signed and filed a written guilty plea to the charge.[1] The guilty plea contained the plea agreement, which was filed of record. The agreement provided Hauersperger would plead guilty as charged and the county attorney would recommend to the court at sentencing a one-year sentence with all but ninety days suspended, two years' probation, the statutory minimum fine, and dismissal of an unrelated charge and any other charges related to this matter. Hauersperger could request a lesser jail term and the ability to make payments towards fines and fees. By order on August 25, 2015, the court accepted the guilty plea and set sentencing.[2]

         At a later date, Hauersperger appeared with his counsel before the court for sentencing. The court inquired as to the plea agreement and the prosecutor set it forth exactly as contained in Hauersperger's written guilty plea, without extraneous comment, and also described Hauersperger's criminal record.[3]Hauersperger's trial counsel did not lodge an objection to the State's recitation of the agreement. Hauersperger's attorney then presented his own sentencing recommendation, which was for one year in jail with all but twelve days suspended and credit for time served-meaning Hauersperger would spend no further time in custody, as he had already served twelve days.

         The court then allowed Hauersperger to exercise his right of allocution. Following Hauersperger's statement, the court imposed sentence, rejecting the plea agreement and sentencing him to two years of imprisonment. The court stated on the record the reasons for imposing the prison sentence. Following sentencing, Hauersperger filed this timely appeal.

          II. Ineffective Assistance of Counsel.

         A. Standard of Review.

         Ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claims are reviewed de novo as they involve a constitutional issue of the right to effective counsel. State ...


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