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State v. Tobeck

Court of Appeals of Iowa

June 7, 2017

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
JASON ANDREW TOBECK, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Wapello County, Randy S. DeGeest, Judge.

         The defendant appeals his convictions and sentences for intent to deliver a controlled substance (methamphetamine) and possession of a controlled substance (hydromorphone). AFFIRMED.

          Julie R. De Vries of De Vries Law Office, P.L.C., Centerville, for appellant.

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

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

          POTTERFIELD, Presiding Judge.

         Jason Tobeck was originally charged with seven crimes. He reached a plea agreement with the State, whereby five of the charges were dismissed and the State agreed not to pursue the habitual-offender enhancement on the remaining two charges. In exchange, Tobeck agreed to enter guilty pleas to the remaining charges, possession with intent to deliver (methamphetamine) and possession of a controlled substance (hydromorphone), and serve consecutively a term of incarceration not to exceed ten years on the first count and a term of incarceration not to exceed five years on the second.

         Insofar as we understand Tobeck's claim on appeal, Tobeck maintains he received ineffective assistance from trial counsel because counsel did not explain the difference between the terms "consecutive" and "concurrent." Tobeck does not take the logical next step and argue his plea was involuntary because he did not understand the terms of the plea agreement. Additionally, Tobeck does not claim he would not have taken the plea agreement and would have insisted on going to trial if he had understood the difference between the terms. In such cases, we typically preserve a defendant's claims for possible postconviction-relief proceedings. See, e.g., State v. Roby, No. 16-0191, 2016 WL 4384979, at *2 (Iowa Ct. App. Aug. 17, 2016) ("[W]e may not rule on the merits of a claim without an adequate record or penalize [the defendant] for inadequate briefing of the claim on direct appeal." (citing State v. Johnson, 784 N.W.2d 192, 198 (Iowa 2010))). But here, the record belies Tobeck's claimed confusion.

         At the guilty-plea hearing, trial counsel explained the plea agreement to the court, stating:

Your Honor, my client comes before the Court to enter a plea of guilty to Count I and Count II . . . without the habitual offender enhancement pursuant to a plea agreement in which, in return for these pleas, he agrees to serve a consecutive-serve a sentence of imprisonment of ten years on Count I and five years on Count II, run consecutively, minimum fine on each.

         Then, before Tobeck entered his guilty pleas, the following colloquy took place between Tobeck and the court:

COURT: If at any time you do not understand something I talked about, just interrupt me and tell me to stop, and you are free to talk with [defense counsel] about anything you need to. Also, if at any time you decide you do not want to continue with your plea, tell me to stop, and we'll stop. Do you understand?
TOBECK: Yes, ...

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