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Gram v. State

Court of Appeals of Iowa

July 5, 2018

TROY GRAM, Applicant-Appellant,
v.
STATE OF IOWA, Respondent-Appellee.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, David N. May, Judge.

         The applicant appeals the dismissal of his application for postconviction relief.

          Jacob L. Mason of JL Mason Law, P.L.L.C., Ankeny, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Zachary C. Miller, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Potterfield and Tabor, JJ.

          POTTERFIELD, JUDGE.

         Troy Gram appeals the denial of his application for postconviction relief (PCR). As he did in his application to the PCR court, Gram maintains he received ineffective assistance from trial counsel because trial counsel (1) allowed him to plead guilty to failure to comply with sex-offender registry requirements, second offense, without a factual basis to support the plea[1] and (2) failed to challenge the statute as unconstitutionally vague.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         In August 2013, a complaint was filed alleging Gram had failed to comply with the sex offender registry requirements-his second such offense. It stated he had moved from his registered address on July 24 and had yet to update his address with the registry. Based on this complaint, an arrest warrant was issued, and Gram was taken into custody.

         The trial information, which was filed in October, stated Gram had failed to comply with the sex offender registry, "in violation of Iowa Code Section 691A.104(6)." The actual code section at issue is 692A.104.

         Gram entered into an agreement with the State whereby he would plead guilty to the charge and the State would recommend he receive a suspended sentence with a term of probation.

         In December, Gram entered a guilty plea in open court. During a colloquy with the court, the following exchange took place:

THE COURT: Understanding everything I've explained so far, how do you plead as to the charge of failure to comply with the sex offender registry, second offense, guilty or not guilty?
GRAM: Guilty, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Tell me what you did that makes you guilty of this.
GRAM: I failed to register in a timely manner due to the fact that I was waiting on a job that I thought was going to pan out that didn't pan out, and so the-so my landlord in question failed to rent me that apartment. I didn't have a job and-
THE COURT: So you moved-you lived at a certain address; is ...

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