from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Mark J. Smith
and Paul L. Macek, Judges.
Clemons appeals after pleading guilty, challenging the
factual basis for his felony-eluding conviction.
C. Smith, Appellate Defender, and Shellie L. Knipfer,
Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Sheryl Soich, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Doyle and Mullins, JJ.
Clemons appeals following his guilty plea to operating
without owner's consent, felony eluding, and trafficking
in stolen weapons. Clemons claims his trial counsel was
ineffective in permitting him to plead guilty to felony
eluding when the record did not support a factual basis for
the charge. Because Clemons specifically denied an element of
that offense at the plea hearing, the State did not establish
a factual basis for the plea, and Clemons's trial counsel
was therefore ineffective in permitting him to plead guilty.
We therefore vacate his sentences and remand for further
Background Facts and Proceedings.
6, 2016, Clemons was driving in excess of the posted speed
limit on a city street in Davenport. As soon as police
officers gave pursuit of Clemons, he sped away. At one point,
Clemons was traveling ninety miles per hour in a
twenty-five-miles-per-hour zone. Clemons lost control of his
car, crashed it, and fled the scene. While investigating the
abandoned car, officers located an Illinois ID card belonging
to Clemons, live ammunition, a .45 caliber pistol, and
marijuana. Security camera video shows Clemons fleeing the
State charged Clemons with first-degree theft, felony
eluding, trafficking in stolen weapons, carrying weapons,
felon in possession of a firearm, and possession of
marijuana. Pursuant to a written plea agreement, Clemons pled
guilty to operating without owner's consent, felony
eluding, and trafficking in stolen weapons. The State agreed
to dismiss the remaining charges.
January 18, 2017, the district court held a hearing on the
plea. The court accepted Clemson's written plea of
operating without owner's consent. During the plea
colloquy for the felony-eluding charge, and after explaining
the elements of the offense, the court asked Clemons what he
had done to commit the crime of felony eluding. After an
off-the-record discussion with his plea counsel, Clemons
responded that he "was drinking, riding around; and
there wasn't a marked squad car, it was unmarked; I guess
[the police officer] hit his lights, and I proceeded to speed
off." The court asked if he knew it was a police
officer, and Clemons responded, "Yes." When asked
if the officer turned on his siren, Clemons said, "No
sir. I just seen the lights." Clemons admitted he knew
it was a squad car, that he was under the influence of
alcohol at the time, and that he exceed the speed limit by
twenty-five miles per hour or more. The prosecutor was asked
for any other factual basis. The prosecutor stated he had
watched the squad car video and it indicated the officer did
turn on his siren and lights. The court asked Clemons if he
had any objection to the factual statement by the prosecutor,
and Clemons responded, "No objections." The court
found a factual basis for Clemons's plea, found Clemons
entered the plea knowingly and voluntarily, and accepted
Clemons's guilty plea to felony eluding.
district court sentenced Clemons to a term not to exceed two
years in prison on the operating-without-consent charge and
terms of no more than five years on the eluding and
trafficking charges. The court ordered Clemons to serve the
eluding and trafficking sentences consecutively to each other
and concurrently to the operating-without-consent sentence.
appeal, Clemons claims his plea counsel was ineffective by
allowing him to plead guilty to felony eluding when no
factual basis existed in the record to support the