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State v. Smith

Court of Appeals of Iowa

March 21, 2018

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
SHANE TYLER SMITH, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Story County, James B. Malloy, District Associate Judge.

         A defendant appeals his conviction for failure to register as a sex offender.

          Shawn Smith of The Smith Law Firm, P.C., Ames, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Timothy M. Hau, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Considered by Potterfield, P.J., Mullins, J., and Blane, S.J. [*]

          POTTERFIELD, Presiding Judge.

         Shane Smith pled guilty to failure to register as a sex offender in violation of Iowa Code section 692A.111 (2016). Smith argues his waiver of counsel prior to his plea and sentencing was not knowing, voluntary, and intelligent. Smith also argues the State failed to comply with the plea agreement and his plea lacked a factual basis.

         Smith was required to register as a sex offender under Iowa Code section 682A. A compliance check in July 2016 revealed Smith had not resided at the shelter he had given in his registration for three weeks. Smith was charged with failure to register as a sex offender.

         During arraignment, Smith requested a new court-appointed attorney. The district court informed Smith that if he wanted a new attorney, he would have to retain counsel with his own funds. Smith asked to represent himself. The court advised against self-representation. Later, the court advised against self- representation again, stating:

If at some point you change your mind and you decide you do want to have a court-appointed attorney, you can always reapply and I'll appoint the public defender's office. . . . But Mr. Smith, I would really caution you against representing yourself, and [your previously appointed attorney] is a very, very good attorney, and she'll do an excellent job representing you. So if you change your mind, we'll reappoint the public defender's office.

         About two months later, when Smith had reached a plea agreement with the prosecutor, a plea hearing took place. Smith appeared without counsel, and the district court engaged in a colloquy with Smith regarding his self-representation:

The first thing I have to go through with you is that you intend to represent yourself and you're waiving your right to an attorney. I'm not trying to talk you out of representing yourself, but I want to make sure you understand you do have the right to an attorney and if you can't afford counsel, I would appoint one for you at public expense.

         Later the district court asked:

Q: Do you understand you have the right to an attorney and that I would appoint an attorney for you if ...

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