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State v. Duncan

Court of Appeals of Iowa

July 19, 2017

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
SHAWN KENYA DUNCAN, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Mary Pat Gunderson, Judge.

         A defendant appeals his convictions. AFFIRMED.

          Karmen Anderson of The Law Office of Karmen Anderson, Des Moines, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Thomas J. Ogden, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Doyle and McDonald, JJ.

          VOGEL, Presiding Judge.

         Shawn Duncan claims his guilty pleas were not knowing and voluntary, and his counsel was ineffective. Specifically, Duncan asserts both the district court and his counsel failed to fully inform him of the consequences of withdrawing his motion in arrest of judgment; he also claims his counsel failed to fully inform him about the terms of his plea.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings

         On April 21, 2016, the State charged Duncan with possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, in violation of Iowa Code section 124.401(1)(b)(7) (2014) and failure to possess a tax stamp, in violation of Iowa Code section 453B.3 and 453B.12. On June 10, Duncan appeared before the district court and agreed to plead guilty to a lesser-included offense of the possession charge and to the tax-stamp violation. At the plea hearing, the State described the terms of the plea agreement:

Your Honor, the terms of the plea agreement are as follows: That should Mr. Duncan be capable of providing a factual basis to a lesser included count I of the trial information, that being possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, a class "C" felony, and to count II of the trial information, that being failure to possess a tax stamp, the State at the time of sentencing will agree, first, to recommend to the court that his probationary matters be resolved by way of credit for time served. The parties then will be free to argue for whatever disposition they deem appropriate with regards to the two counts.
Obviously, by the State reducing count I from a class "B" felony to a class "C" felony, it gives Mr. Duncan the ability to request a probationary sentence. As presently charged and if convicted, he would not have that opportunity. He would be looking at a mandatory twenty-five-year prison term with the one-third mandatory minimum. So this disposition gives him the ability to make a probationary request to the court. Thank you.

         Duncan's counsel agreed that her understanding of the plea agreement was consistent with the State's description. The court then spoke to Duncan:

THE COURT: Okay. Mr. Duncan, you understand at the time of sentencing ultimately it's the court's decision as to what sentence to impose; is that right?
THE DEFENDANT: Yes, I do.
THE COURT: All right. Knowing that, you still want to move forward?
THE DEFENDANT: Yes, ma'am.
THE COURT: Okay. So have any threats or promises been made to get you to ...

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