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State v. Hankins

Court of Appeals of Iowa

May 2, 2018

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
SETH ANTHONY HANKINS, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, William A. Price, District Associate Judge.

         The defendant claims trial counsel was ineffective for allowing him to plead guilty to eluding without a factual basis and for failing to competently advocate for him during sentencing.

          R. Ben Stone of Parrish Kruidenier Dunn Boles Gribble Gentry Brown & Bergmann L.L.P., Des Moines, for appellant.

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

          Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Potterfield and Tabor, JJ.

          POTTERFIELD, Judge.

         Seth Hankins appeals from his convictions and sentences for eluding, leaving the scene of an accident where a serious injury occurred, and third-degree fraudulent practice. Hankins maintains trial counsel provided ineffective assistance when he allowed Hankins to plead guilty to the crime of eluding without a factual basis to support the plea. He also maintains trial counsel acted ineffectively at sentencing by failing to competently advocate for him "after highly emotional victim impact statements."

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         According to the minutes of evidence, on April 1, 2017, Hankins drove an automobile away from a marked police car at a high rate of speed after the police car turned on its lights and sirens. Hankins's vehicle eventually collided with two other vehicles, resulting in serious injuries to civilians in those vehicles. Hankins then fled on foot and was not immediately apprehended. A subsequent investigation into the identity of the driver uncovered Hankins's alleged perjury and fraud related to the sale of the car he had been driving.

         Hankins was charged with serious injury by a vehicle, eluding, and leaving the scene of an accident where a serious injury occurred. In a separate trial information, Hankins was also charged with perjury; fraudulent practice in the second degree, a "D" felony; and fraudulent practice in the third degree, an aggravated misdemeanor.

         Hankins entered written guilty pleas to eluding and leaving the scene of an accident where a serious injury occurred. He also entered a guilty plea to third- degree fraudulent practice. Per an agreement, the State dismissed the remaining charges.

         The court accepted each of Hankins's guilty pleas.

         At the sentencing hearing, the court heard three victim-impact statements from women who were involved in the collision with Hankins's vehicle. The State recommended the court sentence Hankins to three two-year terms of incarceration and run the terms consecutive to each other.

         The court sentenced Hankins to a term of incarceration of 365 days for eluding. Additionally, Hankins received a suspended two-year sentence for leaving the scene of an accident where a serious injury occurred and a suspended two-year sentence for fraudulent practice in ...


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