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State v. Brown

Court of Appeals of Iowa

June 6, 2018

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
RAAHSANN M. BROWN JR., Defendant-Appellant.

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

         The defendant appeals the district court order entering judgment and sentence after his deferred judgment was revoked.

          Eric D. Tindal of Keegan and Farnsworth, Iowa City, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Bridget A. Chambers, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Considered by Danilson, C.J., Vaitheswaran, J., and Carr, S.J. [*]

          CARR, Senior Judge.

         Raahsann Brown Jr. pled guilty to one count of possession of a controlled substance (marijuana), first offense. The district court granted him a deferred judgment. Brown appeals after the court revoked the deferred judgment and imposed judgment and sentence. He argues his constitutional rights were violated when the court entered the order revoking his deferred judgment.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         The State charged Brown with possession of a controlled substance on September 24, 2014. Brown entered a written guilty plea, waiving his presence at the guilty plea hearing and his right to file a motion in arrest of judgment in order to proceed to immediate sentencing. The district court accepted Brown's plea on October 22, 2014, but deferred entering judgment for a period of six months. The court placed Brown on unsupervised probation on the condition that Brown have "no further law violations" and "no further alcohol or drug related arrests, " and pay "a civil penalty in the amount of $315 plus attorney's fees and any applicable costs and surcharges." The court established a payment plan and scheduled a review hearing for April 24, 2015, "to determine if [Brown] has completed all requirements of this sentence." The order stated that Brown "is required to personally appear, " warning that "[f]ailure to appear can result in arrest." The following month, Brown's trial counsel withdrew as his attorney of record.

         Brown did not appear at the April 24, 2015 review hearing, and no counsel appeared on Brown's behalf. In a written order filed the same day, the court found Brown failed to comply with the terms of his deferred judgment by failing to appear and by failing to pay "all monies owed." It issued a warrant for Brown's arrest.

         Brown was served the arrest warrant on August 16, 2015. At his initial appearance, the court appointed Brown counsel and released Brown on his promise to appear at an August 21, 2015 hearing. Brown appeared with counsel at that hearing. In an order entered the same day, the court found Brown had "made some progress but need[ed] additional time to complete the terms of the deferred judgment." The court scheduled a review hearing for October 23, 2015, ordered Brown to complete eighty-six hours of community service, and scheduled a "court compliance appointment" on September 3, 2015. The Scott County Sheriff filed an "alternative sentencing community service report" on October 21, 2015, stating that Brown had failed to complete any of the ordered community service.

         Brown again failed to appear at the review hearing on October 23, 2015. In a written order entered on the day of the hearing, the court found Brown failed to comply with the terms of his deferred judgment by failing to appear and failing to pay all monies owed. The order states, "IT IS HEARBY ORDERED that the Deferred Judgment is REVOKED. See separate sentencing order." However, no sentencing order appears in the record. The court also ordered a warrant to issue for Brown's arrest.

         The arrest warrant was not served on Brown until July 2, 2016. On July 6, 2016, the court entered a written "order for continuance." The order states:

The Court finds that there is good cause for continuing the above-captioned case upon Order of the Court and that it is in the interest of justice to ...

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