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State v. Gregersen

Court of Appeals of Iowa

March 8, 2017

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
CORY GREGERSEN, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Guthrie County, Glenn E. Pille (plea) and Paul R. Huscher (sentencing), Judges.

         Cory Gregersen appeals the judgment and sentence entered after pleading guilty to intimidation with a dangerous weapon. AFFIRMED.

          Mark C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Melinda J. Nye, Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Tyler J. Buller, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Doyle and Tabor, JJ.

          DOYLE, Judge.

         Cory Gregersen appeals the judgment and sentence entered after pleading guilty to intimidation with a dangerous weapon. He contends his trial counsel was ineffective in allowing him to plead guilty without a factual basis. He also alleges the trial court failed to specify its reasons for imposing the sentence.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         On September 20, 2015, Gregersen told his wife he wanted to kill himself, walked to the bedroom, and placed a shotgun with a broken stock in his mouth. While his wife was outside of the room, Gregersen fired the shotgun at the floor. His wife screamed and when she came running into the room, Gregersen said, "Scared you, didn't I?" She responded, "Yes, I am afraid now, " and asked Gregersen to stop.

         Gregersen's wife called her father, who told her to leave the house. When Gregersen asked why she called her father, his wife stated, "Because I am scared." While she was outside the house waiting for her father to pick her up, Gregersen fired another shot from inside. Gregersen's wife ran to the end of the driveway because she did not know in which direction Gregersen was firing.

         The State charged Gregersen with intimidation with a dangerous weapon, in violation of Iowa Code section 708.6 (2015), as a class "C" felony. After reaching a plea agreement with the State, Gregersen pled guilty to intimidation with a dangerous weapon, in violation of section 708.6, as a class "D" felony. The prosecutor agreed to recommend the minimum fine and a suspended prison sentence. After a plea hearing, the court accepted Gregersen's guilty plea. Following a sentencing hearing, it sentenced Gregersen to an indeterminate term of no more than five years in prison. The court then suspended the sentence and placed Gregersen on probation for five years. The court also imposed the minimum fine and statutory surcharge. Gregersen appeals.

         II. Ineffective Assistance of Counsel.

         Gregersen contends his trial counsel provided ineffective assistance by allowing him to plead guilty without a factual basis for the class "D" felony charge of intimidation with a dangerous weapon. A person commits the class "D" felony of intimidation with a dangerous weapon if the person "shoots . . . a dangerous weapon . . . in a building . . . occupied by another person . . ., and thereby places the occupant[] . . . in reasonable apprehension of serious injury . . . ." Iowa Code § 708.6. Gregersen specifically claims there is no factual basis showing he placed another in fear of serious injury when he fired the gun while the house was occupied.

         We review ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claims de novo. See State v. Clay, 824 N.W.2d 488, 494 (Iowa 2012). Ineffective assistance occurs when counsel fails to perform in an objectively reasonable manner under prevailing professional standards, and that failure prejudices the defendant. See id. at 494-95. Although we ordinarily preserve ineffective-assistance claims for ...


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