Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. Fields

Court of Appeals of Iowa

July 5, 2018

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
CHRISTOPHER FIELDS, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Robert B. Hanson, Judge.

         Christopher Fields appeals from his conviction contending his attorney provided ineffective assistance by permitting him to plead guilty despite the lack of a factual basis. SENTENCE VACATED AND CASE REMANDED FOR FURTHER PROCEEDINGS.

          Karmen R. Anderson of Anderson & Taylor, P.L.L.C., Des Moines, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Darrel L. Mullins, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

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

          VOGEL, Presiding Judge.

         Christopher Fields appeals from his conviction and sentence for distributing a drug to a minor, an aggravated misdemeanor, in violation of Iowa Code section 124.406(1)(c) (2017), and assault causing bodily injury or mental illness (sexually motivated offense), in violation of Iowa Code sections 708.1(2)(a), 708.2(2), and 708.15. Fields asserts his trial counsel provided ineffective assistance by permitting him to plead guilty to the assault charge without the record containing a factual basis to support the "bodily injury" element of that charge. Because the State may be able to provide a factual basis to support all the elements of the offense charged, we vacate Fields's sentence and remand to the district court for further proceedings to provide the State an opportunity to offer this evidence.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings

         On June 22, 2017, the State filed a trial information against Fields, charging him with distributing drugs to a minor. The State filed an amended trial information on August 29, adding the charge of assault causing bodily injury. The charges were filed after Fields engaged in a sexual encounter with a minor. Fields filed a written plea of guilty to both charges on August 29, acknowledging the unchallenged elements of the distributing drugs to a minor charge. He also acknowledged, "I touched K.C., a person I knew to be under the age of 18, in a manner that had a sexual motivation, but which she deemed offensive and in doing so I caused a bodily injury to her." Fields also asked the district court to "accept as true the minutes of testimony to further establish the factual basis for this offense."

          In an unreported hearing, the district court accepted the guilty plea on the same day. On September 15, Fields was sentenced to imprisonment not to exceed one year on the assault charge and two years on the distribution charge; the sentences were to run consecutively to each other and consecutively to a previous suspended sentence for a total term not to exceed five years. All the sentences were suspended. Fields was sentenced to two years' probation and was required to register as a sex offender. Finally, he was also ordered to pay a fine, surcharge, and restitution. Fields appeals, contending his trial counsel was ineffective in permitting him to plead guilty to the charges without a factual basis for the "bodily injury" element of the assault charge in the record.

         II. Standard of Review

         Challenges to guilty pleas are ordinarily reviewed for the correction of errors at law. State v. Fisher, 877 N.W.2d 676, 680 (Iowa 2016). We review ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claims de novo. State v. Gant, 597 N.W.2d 501, 504 (Iowa 1999).

         III. Factual Basis

         To establish an ineffective-assistance claim, Fields must "prove by a preponderance of the evidence that his trial counsel failed to perform an essential duty and that this failure resulted in prejudice." Gant, 597 N.W.2d at 504. If he fails to prove either prong, we will affirm. Id. In the context of a guilty plea, establishing prejudice requires Fields to show "a reasonable probability that, but for counsel's alleged errors, he . . . would not have [pleaded] guilty and would have insisted on going to trial." See State v. Carroll, 767 N.W.2d 638, 641 (Iowa 2009). We do not ordinarily ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.