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State v. Veronda

Court of Appeals of Iowa

July 5, 2018

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
TRAVIS JAMES VERONDA, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Lars G. Anderson, Judge.

         The defendant appeals from the sentence he received following a remand for resentencing. AFFIRMED.

          Frederick Stiefel, Victor, for appellant.

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

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

          POTTERFIELD, Judge.

         Travis Veronda appeals from the sentence he received following a remand for resentencing. He maintains his counsel provided ineffective assistance by failing to object when the State did not abide by the original plea agreement.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         In 2016, Veronda was charged by three separate trial informations with domestic abuse assault, a serious misdemeanor; domestic abuse assault causing bodily injury, an aggravated misdemeanor; and second-degree burglary. Each of the three crimes involved the same woman, who had a court-issued no-contact order against Veronda.

         Veronda entered into a plea agreement with the State whereby he agreed to plead guilty to the reduced charge of third-degree burglary as well as to each of the charges of domestic abuse assault. As part of the agreement, the State agreed to recommend a suspended sentence.

         In December 2016, Veronda entered guilty pleas to each of the three charges and was sentenced to a five-year term of incarceration for the burglary conviction, a two-year term for domestic abuse assault causing bodily injury, and two years for the conviction for domestic abuse assault. Each of the sentences was suspended.

         Veronda filed an appeal challenging the legality of his sentence, and the State filed a motion to reverse and remand for resentencing. It was undisputed Veronda had been improperly sentenced to a two-year term of incarceration for his serious misdemeanor conviction of domestic abuse assault. See Iowa Code § 903.1(b) (2016) ("For a serious misdemeanor, . . . the court may also order imprisonment not to exceed one year."). In August 2017, our supreme court filed an order granting the State's motion and remanding for resentencing.

         Between Veronda's guilty pleas and sentencing in December 2016 and when the matter came on for resentencing in September 2017, it was alleged Veronda had violated the no-contact order between him and the protected party a number of times. In a January 2017 probation violation complaint, it was alleged Veronda had violated his probation by being in the home of the protected party with her and by providing an alcohol breath test that registered a blood alcohol content of .149. As a result, the State filed an application to revoke Veronda's probation. In June, the State filed a second application for revocation of Veronda's probation after it was alleged he again violated the terms of his probation and the no-contact order by spending time in the home of and with the protected party. The State later amended the application to include the allegation that a urinalysis collected from Veronda in June showed the presence of alcohol in Veronda's system.

         At the resentencing hearing, the court began the proceedings by reciting the procedure of the ...


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