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State v. Roelandt

Court of Appeals of Iowa

August 2, 2017

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
BRETT ROELANDT, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Stuart P. Werling, Judge.

         A defendant appeals from the district court's denial of his motion in arrest of judgment.

          Mark C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Maria L. Ruhtenberg, Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.

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

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

          VOGEL, Presiding Judge.

         Brett Roelandt appeals his convictions following his guilty pleas to theft in the first degree, in violation of Iowa Code sections 714.2(1), 902.8, and 902.9 (2015), and assault while participating in a felony, in violation of Iowa Code section 708.3(2). Roelandt claims the district court erred in denying his motion in arrest of judgment based on his assertion that the State withheld exculpatory evidence.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings

         On March 30, 2016, the State charged Roelandt with one count of robbery in the first degree and one count of possession of a firearm as a felon as a habitual offender. On June 27, the State amended the trial information to add one count of theft in the first degree and one count of assault while participating in a felony. In conjunction with a plea agreement, Roelandt agreed to plead guilty to the theft-in-the-first-degree count and the assault-while-participating-in-a-felony count; in exchange, the State agreed to dismiss the robbery and felon-in-possession-of-a-firearm counts.

         After the plea was accepted by the district court, Roelandt filed a motion in arrest of judgment seeking to set aside his guilty pleas based on his allegation the State had withheld exculpatory information from him. Specifically, Roelandt alleged the victim spoke to the county attorney on the morning of Roelandt's guilty plea hearing and told the county attorney that he could not state that Roelandt was the perpetrator. The county attorney did not disclose the conversation to Roelandt. Roelandt argued the failure to disclose the conversation violated his due process rights in accordance with Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83, 87 (1963). The district court denied Roelandt's motion. Roelandt appeals.

         II. Scope and Standard of Review

         Generally, we review district court rulings on motions in arrest of judgment for abuse of discretion. State v. Smith, 753 N.W.2d 562, 564 (Iowa 2008). However, "[w]hen the applicant's claims are of a constitutional nature, we will conduct a de novo review." DeSimone v. State, 803 N.W.2d 97, 102 (Iowa 2011).

         III. Motion in Arrest of Judgment

         Roelandt asserts the district court erred in denying his motion in arrest of judgment because the victim's statement to the prosecutor qualifies as Brady material and the failure of the prosecutor to disclose it to Roelandt violated his due process ...


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