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State v. Harris

Court of Appeals of Iowa

May 3, 2017

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
SAMUEL LEE HARRIS, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, William A. Price, District Associate Judge.

         A defendant appeals his sentence. AFFIRMED.

          Blake D. Lubinus of Lubinus Law Firm, PLLC, Des Moines, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Thomas E. Bakke, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

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

          VOGEL, Judge.

         Samuel Harris appeals his sentence following his guilty plea to assault causing bodily injury, in violation of Iowa Code sections 708.1 and 708.2(2) (2015), and child endangerment, in violation of Iowa Code section 726.6(7). Harris claims he was deprived his right to counsel under the state and federal constitutions and his trial counsel was ineffective. We conclude Harris's waiver of his right to counsel at sentencing was voluntary, knowing, and intelligent, and we affirm his sentence. However, because the factual record relevant to Harris's claim of ineffective assistance of counsel is not fully developed, we preserve that claim for a postconviction action.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings

         On April 21, 2016, the State charged Harris with one count of domestic abuse assault, second offense, and one count of child endangerment. On April 27, Harris pled guilty to one count of assault causing bodily injury and one count of child endangerment. Sentencing was initially set for May 11 but was later continued to June 15.

         Initially, Harris was represented by court-appointed counsel who helped him negotiate his plea deal and who appeared with him when his plea was accepted. Prior to the sentencing hearing, Harris signed a written waiver of his right to an attorney. Harris's counsel was not present at the sentencing hearing.[1] After receiving the waiver, the district court entered into a colloquy with Harris:

THE COURT: Mr. Harris, earlier, you had an attorney appointed to represent you, but it's my understanding that you wish to waive that attorney; is that correct?
MR. HARRIS: Yes, sir.
THE COURT: You signed this written waiver of attorney, the form I'm showing you right now (indicating).
MR. HARRIS: Yes, sir.
THE COURT: You signed that today; is that correct?
MR. HARRIS: Yes, sir.
THE COURT: Did you read that ...

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