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Yocum v. State

Supreme Court of Iowa

March 10, 2017

JEREMY D. YOCUM, Appellant,
v.
STATE OF IOWA, Appellee.

         On review from the Iowa Court of Appeals.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Lee (South) County, John G. Linn, Judge.

         A defendant requests further review of a court of appeals decision affirming the dismissal of his postconviction-relief action. DECISION OF COURT OF APPEALS VACATED; DISTRICT COURT JUDGMENT AFFIRMED.

          Thomas A. Hurd of Glazebrook Moe & Hurd LLP, Des Moines, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Linda J. Hines, Assistant Attorney General, and Michael Short, County Attorney, and Bruce C. McDonald, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee.

          PER CURIAM.

         Jeremy D. Yocum pled guilty to failure to appear for sentencing under section 811.2(8) of the Iowa Code (2007). He filed a postconviction-relief action claiming his counsel was ineffective for various reasons. The district court denied every claim of ineffective assistance of counsel raised by Yocum. In this appeal, he claims postconviction counsel was ineffective when he allowed Yocum to plead guilty when a factual basis did not exist for the plea. The court of appeals held it could not reach this issue on appeal because the record was insufficient to determine whether a factual basis existed at the time Yocum pled guilty. Yocum asked for further review of this decision, which we granted.

         When a defendant alleges a factual basis did not exist to support his or her guilty plea, it is the court's obligation to examine the entire record to see if a factual basis for the guilty plea existed. State v. Schminkey, 597 N.W.2d 785, 788 (Iowa 1999). A factual basis either exists or does not exist. If the record contains a factual basis, the court must uphold the guilty plea.

         If the record does not contain a factual basis for the plea, the court has two alternatives. If the record shows the State charged the defendant with the wrong crime and there is no possibility the State could establish a factual basis for that crime, we vacate the judgment of conviction and sentence, and remand the case for the district court to dismiss the case. Id. at 792. If, however, the record shows the State could establish a factual basis for the crime charged, we remand the case for further proceedings. State v. Allen, 708 N.W.2d 361, 369 (Iowa 2006). On remand, the district court can allow the State to establish a factual basis. Schminkey, 597 N.W.2d at 792. If the State cannot establish a factual basis for the plea, the court should vacate the plea. After vacating the plea, the court should allow the State to reinstate any charges dismissed as part of the plea agreement and file any additional charges the available evidence supports. Allen, 708 N.W.2d at 369.

         In our review of the record, we find a factual basis existed for the court to accept Yocum's plea. At the plea hearing, the court was concerned with the factual basis. At that juncture in the plea proceedings, the court made the following record:

THE COURT: Well, I'm concerned about getting a good factual basis, to tell you the truth, and I don't want to have this come back and bite me on postconviction relief because there's no factual basis here. So I need to see the other file to be comfortable with that myself. I need to see the paperwork that released him and see exactly what happened 'cuz I could see that happening.
MR. SHORT: I'll go get that.
THE COURT: Yeah.
(A recess was taken from 10:54 a.m. to ...

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