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State v. Howard

Court of Appeals of Iowa

May 16, 2018

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
MARK ANTHONY HOWARD, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Mary E. Howes, Judge.

         Mark Howard appeals from the sentence imposed following his guilty plea to assault causing injury. AFFIRMED.

          Sharon D. Hallstoos of Hallstoos Law Office, Dubuque, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Thomas J. Ogden, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Vaitheswaran and Bower, JJ.

          DANILSON, Chief Judge.

         Mark Howard appeals his sentence for assault causing bodily injury, a serious misdemeanor, in violation of Iowa Code sections 708.1 and .2(2) (2017).

         Amandalyn Granvold, Jennifer Antenor, and Tiffany Caruthers were out together having drinks on March 19, 2017. They were confronted at the bar by Howard, who was in a relationship with Caruthers. The women left the bar and walked back to Caruthers's vehicle. Howard confronted them, shouted at them, and hit Antenor in the left side of her face. There were no marks or injuries to Antenor's face. Granvold attempted to intervene, and Howard struck Granvold in the face with a closed fist, breaking her nose.

         As a result of the encounter, Howard was charged with assault causing bodily injury to Granvold. He also had other pending criminal charges including one charge of domestic assault, third or subsequent offense in one case; and in another case, three charges-possession with intent to deliver crack cocaine; failure to affix a drug tax stamp as a habitual offender; and conspiracy to create, deliver, or possess with intent to deliver crack cocaine as a habitual offender.

         Howard entered a written guilty plea to assault causing bodily injury to Granvold. He accepted the minutes of evidence as substantially true and acknowledged a plea agreement existed "as evidenced by a memorandum of plea agreement which I have signed."[1] The district court held a hearing at which it acknowledged the written plea agreement, which provides that

[Howard] will plead guilty to count I in cause ending in 923, which is possession of crack cocaine, . . . and in the SRCR he would plead guilty as charged to assault causing bodily injury . . . . At sentencing, the State will move to dismiss Counts II and III in felony cause ending 923 and will dismiss FECRO 383374 at [Howard's] costs.

         The court also noted it was an "open plea, which means that the State is free to make any recommendation." Howard acknowledged that was his understanding of the plea agreement.

         A combined sentencing hearing was held. Howard was represented by separate counsel for the felony and misdemeanor cases. The attorney on the felony case, Jack Dusthimer, acknowledged that a presentence investigation report (PSI) had been prepared and made available to counsel, Howard had read it, and there were no substantive changes or corrections. Dusthimer asked that Howard receive probation. Ryan Beckenbaugh, counsel on this misdemeanor case, then stated:

I will join and echo most of-actually, all of Mr. Dusthimer's comments, and I would put emphasis on the needs identified. Two of them are that Mr. Howard needs a substance abuse evaluation and mental health evaluation. Like [Dusthimer] said, those could be provided here, but there are also things Mr. Howard needs to help get himself better, and then, I would just point out that I think it's significant that he responded to one of the needs identified already by going out and getting this job at Rustic Ridge. I ...

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