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State v. Luckett

Court of Appeals of Iowa

March 22, 2017

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
CLIFTON DUSHAWN LUCKETT, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Des Moines County, Michael G. Dieterich, District Associate Judge.

         Clifton Luckett appeals following conviction of absence from custody. VACATED IN PART AND REMANDED WITH DIRECTIONS.

          Mark C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Brenda J. Gohr, Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Kristin Guddall, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Vogel and Vaitheswaran, JJ.

          DANILSON, Chief Judge.

         Clifton Luckett appeals following conviction of a violation of Iowa Code section 719.4(3) (2016), absence from custody. He contends there is insufficient evidence he "was knowingly and voluntarily absent from the place he was required to be." Luckett also argues the district court failed to give adequate reasons for imposing consecutive sentences.

         Section 719.4(3) provides: "A person who has been committed . . . to a jail . . ., who knowingly and voluntarily is absent from a place where the person is required to be, commits a serious misdemeanor."

         On January 20, 2016, Luckett was granted a furlough from the Des Moines County Jail to visit the Iowa Workforce Development for a job search. The order authorizing his furlough provided:

Defendant is granted a furlough to visit Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) . . . and shall travel in a direct route to and from this address, and only to this address. The furlough shall be on Thursday, January 21, 2016, and Friday January 22, 2016, beginning each day at 8:00 a.m. Defendant shall report back to the jail within four hours. If he does no job searches, he must report back by 11:00 a.m. He must provide written document[ation] for all places at which he searches for employment. Defendant shall be responsible for obtaining his/her own transportation but his transportation and the driver must be approved in advance by the jail staff. Defendant may not go to any residence during the furlough or associate with others that are not prospective employers or members of IWD. If the Defendant has a job interview or needs additional time to search he can renew his request with more specifics. The Court declines to extend an open ended furlough to a person serving jail time or being held on bond pending hearing. Any violation of this Order or the other orders of the jail staff shall result in immediate suspension of the furlough.

         On January 22, Luckett checked out of the Des Moines County Jail at 7:57 a.m. and checked back in at 5:00 p.m. Upon returning to the jail, Luckett provided documentation that he had job interviews while on furlough; the last interview ended at 12:10 p.m.

         On January 25, Correctional Officer Brenda Schnedler spoke with Luckett about the furlough. Luckett told her he knew he had been five hours late. When she explained that he could face charges over it, "he laughed about it and said, no, they can't do anything, but they can take away my furlough. I'm only here for another forty-five days. It doesn't matter to me."

         Luckett was charged with a violation of section 719.4(3). A jury found him guilty, and the district court sentenced Luckett to 365 days in jail to be served consecutive to another sentence. Luckett now appeals.

         Luckett argues his trial counsel did not offer effective assistance of counsel and failed to make a specific objection to the sufficiency of the evidence he knowingly and voluntarily was absent from a place where he was required to be. His defense was that the furlough order indicated a violation would result in the revocation of furlough-not the imposition of criminal charges. And the jail rule relied upon (number 11) states, "Failure to return to the Correctional Center will result in a charge of Absent from Custody." He argues the ...


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