from the Iowa District Court for Delaware County, Thomas A.
Sauser appeals the district court's denial of her
application for postconviction relief.
L. Wassmer of Wassmer Law Office, P.L.C., Marion, for
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Tyler J. Buller, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
Considered by Doyle, P.J., Bower, J., and Mahan, S.J.
Sauser pled guilty to kidnapping in the second degree,
voluntary manslaughter, and going armed with intent, after
fatally shooting her husband, Terry, in their home. Sauser
filed a postconviction-relief application and an amended
application alleging a variety of errors. The district court
denied the application after a trial.
appeals, contending her trial counsel was ineffective in
allowing her to plead guilty to kidnapping because the record
lacked a factual basis for the charge. To prevail on her
ineffective-assistance claims, Sauser must show (1) counsel
breached an essential duty and (2) prejudice resulted.
See Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668,
687 (1984). "If we conclude [Sauser] has failed to
establish either of these elements, we need not address the
remaining element." See State v.
Thorndike, 860 N.W.2d 316, 320 (Iowa 2015).
relevant to this case, second-degree kidnapping has four
elements: (1) Sauser confined Terry, (2) with the intent to
inflict serious injury upon Terry, (3) knowing she did not
have the consent of Terry to do so, and (4) while she was
armed with a dangerous weapon. See Iowa Code
§§ 710.1, 710.3 (2011). Sauser's challenge
focuses on the confinement element of kidnapping. In
Sauser's view, her statements to police "can only be
construed as there being a very short time period between
when she made the presence of the gun known to Terry, Terry
grabbing for the gun, and the ensuing struggle for the gun
and discharge of the weapon."
cases do not require that the district court have before it
evidence that the crime was committed beyond a reasonable
doubt, but only that there be a factual basis to support the
charge." State v. Finney, 834 N.W.2d
46, 62 (Iowa 2013). The factual basis can be discerned from
"(1) inquiry of the defendant, (2) inquiry of the
prosecutor, (3) examination of the presentence report, and
(4) minutes of evidence." State v.
Ortiz, 789 N.W.2d 761, 768 (Iowa 2010).
Sauser admitted to all the elements of the crime during her
plea colloquy with the court:
COURT: On [April 3, 2011], did you bring a gun to your living
room, knowing you were going to confine Terry Sauser?
COURT: You knew you did not have the right to confine Terry
Sauser during the argument that the ...