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State v. Holton

Court of Appeals of Iowa

July 19, 2017

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
MICHAEL WAYNE HOLTON, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Cerro Gordo County, Karen Kaufman Salic, District Associate Judge.

         Michael Holton appeals following his guilty plea to domestic abuse assault, third or subsequent offense, asserting the district court erred in imposing restitution and his counsel rendered ineffective assistance.

          Sarah A. Reindl, Mason City, 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.

          DOYLE, JUDGE.

         In November 2016, Michael Holton was charged with two counts of domestic abuse assault, third or subsequent offense. Holton subsequently entered into an agreement with the State wherein he would plead guilty to the first count of assault in exchange for dismissal of the second count, along with the county attorney making sentencing recommendations that he be ordered to serve a prison term not to exceed five years, that a suspended fine plus surcharges and court costs be imposed, and that he attend and participate in the Iowa Domestic Abuse Program. One of the lines on the plea form, initialed by Holton, stated: "Restitution is (not) requested." The word "not" was not lined or crossed out, nor was it circled.[1]

         A hearing on the plea was set. Additionally, the court ordered a presentence investigation, anticipating Holton would request to proceed to sentencing following the plea hearing. Prior to that hearing, the State filed a statement of pecuniary damages, informing the court that the Crime Victim Compensation Program (CVCP) was entitled to restitution for payments the CVCP made in the amount of $1400.

         At the hearing, the court had a colloquy with Holton to verify he knew and understood the consequences of his guilty plea. The court advised Holton that "if there's any victim restitution, [he] would be required to pay that, " and Holton affirmed he understood. The court accepted Holton's guilty plea, and Holton waived delay of his sentencing.

         The court then proceeded to sentencing, and the court asked the assistant county attorney if there was anything she wanted to add to the State's recommendation. The assistant county attorney responded:

The State's recommendation was as stated in the plea agreement. I will add-I guess I will add though that the State requests restitution in the amount stated in the statement of pecuniary damages that was previously filed that goes towards crime victims so we do request restitution in the amount of fourteen hundred dollars to the [CVCP].

         In response, Holton's attorney stated:

With the understanding that there is a mandatory requirement in this case for the sentencing recommendations, I won't add to that, Your Honor. I would say, however, Mr. Holton did receive a copy of the Iowa [CVCP] Summary, and understanding that they went ahead and paid this fourteen hundred dollars for [the victim] but Mr. Holton indicated that she was already having to move before this allegation occurred. She was attempting to get money to get a different location or get a different place to live so to say that these were emergency relocation to provide primary shelter and rent deposit, we would-basically, Your Honor, we would object to that usage. It wasn't an emergency response. [The victim] was already in the process of moving and looking for help for that, and so this part is not an emergency, and . . . I don't know what kind of investigation [the CVCP] did, but ...

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