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State v. Delacy

Court of Appeals of Iowa

May 3, 2017

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
SEAN NEAL DELACY, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Henry County, Mark E. Kruse (guilty plea) and John G. Linn (motion in arrest of judgment and sentencing), Judges.

         A defendant appeals his conviction challenging the knowing and voluntary nature of his guilty plea.

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

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Bridget A. Chambers, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

         Considered En Banc.

          VOGEL, Judge.

         Sean Delacy appeals the conviction entered following his guilty pleas to the charges of sexual exploitation of a minor and lascivious acts with a child. See Iowa Code §§ 709.8(1)(a), (2)(a), 728.12(1) (2015). Delacy asserts the court's failure to inform him of the applicable statutory surcharges violated Iowa Rule of Criminal Procedure 2.8(2)(b)(2). He also contends his counsel was ineffective by not challenging his guilty plea through a motion in arrest of judgment based on the court's failure to inform him of the applicable surcharges. We affirm Delacy's conviction.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         Delacy was charged with a total of twenty-three counts arising from his actions with his cousin's six-year-old child. The trial information was amended multiple times, but ultimately, Delacy faced four counts of sexual abuse in the second degree, in violation of Iowa Code section 709.3(1)(b) and (2), class "B" felonies each carrying a twenty-five-year sentence, see Iowa Code § 902.9(1)(b); one count of sexual exploitation of a minor, in violation of Iowa Code section 728.12(1), a class "C" felony carrying a ten-year sentence, see Iowa Code § 902.9(1)(d); seventeen counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, in violation of Iowa Code section 728.12(3), aggravated misdemeanors each carrying a two-year sentence, see Iowa Code § 903.1(2); and one count of lascivious acts with a child, in violation of Iowa Code section 709.8(1)(a) and (2)(a), a class "C" felony carrying a ten-year sentence, see Iowa Code § 902.9(1)(d). In total, Delacy faced an aggregate term of incarceration of 154 years and a maximum fine of $166, 250, along with lifetime supervision under Iowa Code section 903B.1 for the felony counts and ten years of supervision for the aggravated misdemeanor counts under Iowa Code section 903B.2. In addition, the second-degree sexual abuse charges each carried a seventy-percent mandatory minimum. See Iowa Code § 902.12(1)(c).

         The week before trial was set to begin, the State and Delacy reached an agreement whereby Delacy would enter an Alford[1] plea to lascivious acts with a child and the class "C" felony count of sexual exploitation of a minor. The plea agreement called for the sentences on the two convictions to run consecutively for a total term of incarceration of twenty years, but the remaining twenty-one counts would be dismissed. When entering his guilty plea, Delacy was informed each conviction carried "a maximum penalty of ten years in prison and a fine up to $10, 000"[2] and the "minimum penalty on each of these offenses [was] a $1000 fine." Delacy was also advised of the special sentence under section 903B.1, the sex offender registration requirement, and the civil penalty of $250. Delacy was asked to explain what he believed he was gaining by entering his guilty plea and not going to trial. Delacy stated:

         Basically, I'm gaining a shorter sentence than I would be if I would actually go to trial.

THE COURT: Okay. It [will] be considerably shorter than if you were found guilty; is that fair to say?
[Delacy]: Yes, it would be quite considerable.
After accepting the plea and finding Delacy guilty, the court ...

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