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Buchanan v. State

Court of Appeals of Iowa

June 6, 2018

ANDREW BRASEAN BUCHANAN, Applicant-Appellant,
v.
STATE OF IOWA, Respondent-Appellee.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Scott D. Rosenberg, Judge.

         Andrew Buchanan appeals the denial of his application for postconviction relief.

          Andrew C. Abbott of Abbott Law Office, P.C., Waterloo, for appellant.

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

          Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Doyle and Bower, JJ.

          DOYLE, JUDGE.

         Andrew Buchanan appeals the denial of his application for postconviction relief. Upon our de novo review, we affirm.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         In 2013, Andrew Buchanan and Daevone Brown were charged by trial information with first-degree robbery, and a joint trial was set for June 2013. Prior thereto, a hearing to "make a record in this matter regarding the status of the plea negotiations" as to both defendants was held in May 2013. During the hearing, Buchanan and Brown each indicated he wanted to accept the plea offer extended by the State. However, after further discussions, Buchanan decided to proceed to trial rather than plead guilty. The State informed Brown he could still accept the offer but noted he would be required to testify against Buchanan. Brown then declined the State's offer, and the trial date remained scheduled for June.

         The June 2013 trial began as scheduled, and voir dire was commenced. When the parties returned from the noon recess, the prosecutor advised the court that the State and Buchanan and Brown had reached plea agreements. After a lengthy colloquy, including advising Buchanan and Brown of the necessity to file a motion in arrest of judgment should either wish to challenge his guilty plea, the court accepted the plea agreements and set a date in July 2013 for sentencing.

         At the July sentencing hearing, Brown informed the court he wished to file a motion in arrest of judgment and withdraw his guilty plea, and he and the prosecutor both requested the sentencing date be continued. Buchanan's attorney advised the court Buchanan was prepared for sentencing but also requested the hearing "be continued for personal reasons." His attorney further stated:

. . . [Buchanan] has no intention at this time [of] disturbing the agreement that he has made with the State that was put on the record at the time of the plea. But he does understand, I've explained to him off the record over here, that he does understand that . . . Mr. Brown withdrawing his plea successfully will affect the deal that Mr. Buchanan has made and that effectively, his plea that he entered into would be affected by Mr. Brown withdrawing his plea. And so even though he would like to keep the deal that he has made in place with the twenty-six years with no mandatory minimum, he understands that his case will be impacted by Mr. Brown's motion.

         The court continued the hearing.

         The next hearing was held August 2, 2013. Though Buchanan was again ready to proceed to sentencing on the accepted plea agreement, Brown stated he wanted to pursue his motion in arrest of judgment to have his guilty plea set aside, and he also requested new counsel be appointed due to a conflict with his attorney. Specifically, he was unhappy with his attorney's advice and the terms of the offer he accepted. The court determined that new counsel should be appointed to Brown and a hearing set on Brown's motion in arrest of judgment, with sentencing to follow if necessary. The court directed Buchanan and his counsel to attend that ...


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