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State v. Eatman

Court of Appeals of Iowa

June 6, 2018

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
RICKY T. EATMAN, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Johnson County, Marsha Bergan, Judge.

         Defendant appeals his conviction for possession of a controlled substance (marijuana) with intent to deliver.

          Mark C. Meyer, Cedar Rapids, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Louis S. Sloven, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

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

          BOWER, JUDGE.

         Ricky Eatman appeals his conviction for possession of a controlled substance (marijuana) with intent to deliver. We find there is a sufficient factual basis to support Eatman's guilty plea. Because there is a sufficient factual basis, defense counsel did not have an obligation to object to the guilty plea. We affirm Eatman's conviction.

         I. Background Facts & Proceedings

         Eatman was charged with possession of a controlled substance (marijuana) with intent to deliver, in violation of Iowa Code section 124.401(1)(d) (2014), a class "D" felony. According to the minutes of testimony, officers found a digital scale with marijuana residue on it in Eatman's apartment, as well as a Mason jar and sandwich bag filled with marijuana. The minutes state, "The Defendant admitted the substance was marijuana, it belongs to him, and that he sells it."

         Eatman entered into a plea agreement in which he agreed to plead guilty to the charge and the State agreed to join Eatman in recommending a deferred judgment. At the plea hearing, held on December 8, 2014, Eatman agreed if officers appeared at trial they would testify as summarized in the minutes. The court stated, "The court finds that the Trial Information and the Minutes of Testimony provide a factual basis for the charge and the defendant's plea of guilty." The court then questioned Eatman, who initially stated he had a Mason jar full of marijuana for personal use. After discussing the matter with his attorney, Eatman stated he intended to distribute the marijuana to other people. The court accepted Eatman's guilty plea.

         Apparently, Eatman's whereabouts were unknown for a period of time, as sentencing was held seven months later on July 10, 2017. At sentencing, Eatman received a deferred judgment and was placed on probation for three years. As a condition of his probation, he was required to reside in a residential correctional facility. Eatman violated the rules of the facility and the court revoked his deferred judgment. Eatman was subsequently found guilty of possession of a controlled substance (marijuana) with intent to deliver and sentenced to a term of imprisonment not to exceed five years. He now appeals, claiming he received ineffective assistance of counsel.

         II. Standard of Review

         We conduct a de novo review of claims of ineffective assistance of counsel. State v. Maxwell, 743 N.W.2d 185, 195 (Iowa 2008). To establish a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, a defendant must prove (1) counsel failed to perform an essential duty and (2) prejudice resulted to the extent it denied the defendant a fair trial. Id. A defendant's failure to prove either element by a preponderance of the evidence is fatal to a claim of ineffective assistance. State v. Polly, 657 N.W.2d 462, 465 (Iowa 2003).

         III. ...


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