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State v. Rigel

Court of Appeals of Iowa

March 8, 2017

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
ZACKERY TYLER RIGEL, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Chickasaw County, Richard D. Stochl, Judge.

         Defendant appeals from sentencing order requiring him to register as a sex offender. VACATED IN PART AND REMANDED.

          David A. Kuehner of Eggert, Erb, Mulcahy & Kuehner, P.L.L.C., Charles City, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Sharon K. Hall, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Considered by Potterfield, P.J., Tabor, J., and Scott, S.J. [*]

          SCOTT, Senior Judge.

         Zackery Rigel challenges the district court's sentencing order requiring him to register as a sex offender for a "sexually motivated" crime pursuant to Iowa Code section 692A.126 (2011). Because we find the court abused its sentencing discretion in determining from the facts admitted in the record that Rigel's crime was sexually motivated, we vacate the portion of the sentence requiring him to register as a sex offender and remand.

         Background Facts and Proceedings.

         On April 23, 2013, Rigel was charged with third-degree sexual abuse, a class "C" felony, in violation of Iowa Code section 709.4, for an incident involving a minor, K.M., on November 19, 2012. The State subsequently amended the charge to assault without intent to inflict serious injury but causing serious injury, a class "D" felony. See Iowa Code §§ 708.1, .2(4).

         Rigel appeared before the district court on May 19, 2015, to enter a guilty plea to the amended charge. The following exchange took place during the plea hearing:

THE COURT: As amended this is what the State alleges you did. The State alleges that on or about November 19, 2012, within the confines of Chickasaw County, Iowa, you did commit an assault without the intent to inflict a serious injury, but that you did cause a serious injury. This is what the State would have to be able to establish by evidence beyond a reasonable doubt: (1) that on or about November 19, 2012, you did an act which was intended to cause pain or injury to or which was intended to result in physical contact which would be insulting or offensive to another person coupled with the apparent ability to execute that act. The act was committed against a child, a young person by the initials K.M., (2) that you did not have the intent to inflict a serious injury, but your actions caused a serious injury. A serious injury in this case is defined as being a disabling mental illness. I have had a chance to read the minutes of evidence, to skim over the minutes of evidence, Mr. Rigel, as to what allegedly occurred between you and this young person. I know that you're disputing the original charge of sexual abuse third, but nonetheless, are you willing to admit that based on the existing minutes of evidence, that a reasonable jury could find you guilty of Assault Without Intent to Inflict a Serious Injury, but which caused a serious injury?
THE DEFENDANT: Yes, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Based on the minutes then, I find that there is a factual basis for the guilty plea. No other factual basis was set forth.

         The sentencing hearing occurred on March 22, 2016. At sentencing, Rigel's counsel and the court disagreed as to what Rigel admitted as part of his plea.

[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: . . . But we do have an objection to the official version listed in the pre-sentence investigation because it contains facts that were not admitted to at the plea change hearing.
THE COURT: My understanding is the defendant entered an Alford plea[1]; is that correct? Or did he-
[PROSECUTOR]: Yes.
THE COURT: -enter a plea?
[PROSECUTOR]: No, it was an Alford plea, Your Honor.[2]
THE COURT: So what facts would he have admitted to?
[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: Well, I think, when you do an Alford plea, the only facts that the court can take note of in the file are ones that support the elements of the charge. Anything over and above the basic elements of the charge he's entering a plea to are not admitted in the Alford plea proceeding.
THE COURT: Well, I would want to read the transcript of those proceedings to find out if [the plea-hearing court] asked him whether he could rely upon the minutes of ...

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