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State v. Tejeda

Court of Appeals of Iowa

February 21, 2018

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
HECTOR JOSE TEJEDA, JR, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, David May, Judge.

         A defendant appeals his conviction asserting his attorney provided ineffective assistance and the court erred in assessing him restitution and court costs related to a dismissed count.

          Agnes G. Warutere of Warutere Law Firm, P.L.L.C., Clive, for appellant.

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

          Considered by Doyle, P.J., McDonald, J., and Scott, S.J. [*]

          SCOTT, Senior Judge.

         Hector Tejeda Jr. appeals following his conviction for possession of a controlled substance-methamphetamine-with the intent to deliver, in violation of Iowa Code section 124.401(1)(b)(7) (2016), a class "B" felony. He asserts his counsel provided ineffective assistance by permitting him to plead guilty to the offense when the record lacks a factual basis to support the guilty plea. He also claims counsel was ineffective in pressuring or coercing him to plead guilty and in failing to subpoena a witness for trial. Finally, he asserts the court erred in assessing him restitution and court costs connected to the dismissed drug-tax-stamp count.

         I. Ineffective Assistance.

         To prove counsel provided ineffective assistance, Tejeda must prove counsel failed to perform an essential duty and he suffered prejudice as a result. See State v. Ortiz, 789 N.W.2d 761, 764 (Iowa 2010). Both elements must be proved by a preponderance of the evidence. See id. Ineffective-assistance claims are usually preserved for postconviction-relief proceedings because the record on direct appeal is rarely adequate to address such claims. State v. Straw, 709 N.W.2d 128, 133 (Iowa 2006). However, an ineffective-assistance challenge based on counsel's failure to ensure the record has a factual basis to support a guilty plea is typically resolved on direct appeal because "[i]f a factual basis existed, counsel was not ineffective for failing to file a motion in arrest of judgment; if a factual basis does not exist, then counsel was ineffective." State v. Brooks, 555 N.W.2d 446, 448 (Iowa 1996). Prejudice is presumed if a factual basis does not exist in the record. Ortiz, 789 N.W.2d at 764-65.

         A. Factual Basis.

         Tejeda asserts there is an insufficient factual basis to support the conclusion he intended to deliver the methamphetamine in his possession. He notes the transcript of the guilty plea hearing shows the following:

THE COURT: And you intended to deliver [the methamphetamine] to another person?"
THE DEFENDANT: So they say. Yes. Yes. He asserts this "hesitation" results in a lack of a factual basis. He also claims the court failed to indicate it was relying on the minutes ...

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