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State v. Johnson

Court of Appeals of Iowa

December 6, 2017

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
JEREMY JERMAINE JOHNSON, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Robert E. Sosalla, Judge.

         Jeremy Johnson challenges his guilty pleas. AFFIRMED.

          Mark C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Brenda J. Gohr, Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Darrel Mullins, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Doyle and Mullins, JJ.

          DANILSON, Chief Judge.

         Jeremy Johnson, in two cases, entered a written plea of guilt of aggravated misdemeanor assault with intent to commit sexual abuse, in violation of Iowa Code sections 709.1 and 709.11(3) (2015).

         This court reviews guilty pleas for correction of errors at law. State v. Fisher, 877 N.W.2d 676, 680 (Iowa 2016).[1]

         On appeal, Johnson contends he was not adequately advised prior to entering his pleas, rendering them unknowing and involuntary. Johnson asserts that while the "written pleas do state Johnson is agreeing to a 10-year special parole, " this is not adequate as the written pleas do not "articulate the minimum and maximum punishment" and do not "explain when the special parole goes into effect, and what the punishment is for violations."

         Johnson's signed guilty pleas set out the plea agreement. In the case where he pled guilty to assaulting A.M. in a Hy-Vee parking lot (FECR115231), he summarized the agreement as: "Plead to lesser offense, open sentencing, order PSI, release pending sentencing, SOR, 10 yr special parole. . . . [A]lso- release in SRCR119858." Johnson stated, "I understand that if I plead guilty to this offense, the court has the power to impose a maximum sentence of 2 yrs prison $6250 35% and that in any event the court is required to impose a minimum sentence of $625 35%, SOR, Special Parole."

         Johnson's plea in the case where he pled guilty to assaulting L.O. (AGCR115230) reads in part: "Set sentencing, order PSI, open sentencing, SOR for life, Special parole for 10 yrs-Release in SRCR119858, " and provides the same language for the maximum and minimum possible punishments as the other case: "2 yrs prison $6250 35% . . . $625 35%, SOR, Special Parole."

         We find this record is contrary to Johnson's argument that he was not made aware of the ten-year duration of the special parole. This case is distinguishable from State v. Hollingsworth, 09-0456, 2009 WL 5126331 (Iowa Ct. App. Dec. 30, 2009), on which Johnson relies. In Hollingsworth, the district court "did not advise Hollingsworth of this special sentence at the time he pleaded guilty." 2009 WL 5126331, at *2. Moreover, defense counsel's certification that Hollingsworth fully understood the maximum penalty (without mention of the special parole requirement) was not sufficient to constitute substantial compliance with Iowa Rule of Criminal Procedure 2.8(2)(d). Id. We concluded that because Hollingsworth was not advised of the special sentencing, his plea was not voluntary and intelligent. Id.

         In State v. Hallock, 765 N.W.2d 598, 606 (Iowa Ct. App. 2009), we concluded:

Because section 903B.2 is a sentencing provision, the district court had the obligation to inform Hallock of the ten-year period of parole that would follow his imprisonment. Before accepting Hallock's plea, the court failed to inform Hallock of this special sentencing provision. This was ...

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