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State v. Wilson

Court of Appeals of Iowa

August 1, 2018

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
ELIJAH JAVON WILSON, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, David P. Odekirk, Judge.

         Elijah Javon Wilson appeals his conviction for first-degree robbery. AFFIRMED.

          John L. Dirks of Dirks Law Firm, Ames, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Linda J. Hines, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

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

          BOWER, JUDGE.

         Elijah Wilson appeals his conviction for first-degree robbery, in violation of Iowa Code section 711.2 (2016). Wilson claims the district court abused its discretion by sentencing him to prison instead of placing him on probation. Wilson also claims he received ineffective assistance because defense counsel permitted him to plead guilty, thereby waiving his claim the matter should be transferred to juvenile court. We affirm the district court, but determine Wilson's claim of ineffective assistance should be preserved for possible postconviction proceedings.

         I. Background Facts & Proceedings

         On July 28, 2016, Wilson, age sixteen, and a friend, Kemonte Todd, age eighteen, robbed Muhammid Madni. Todd was carrying a pellet gun and Wilson was carrying a stun gun. Todd struck Madni and struggled to take his wallet. Wilson shocked Madni approximately twenty times during the course of the robbery. After taking Madni's money, Wilson and Todd ran in opposite directions. Todd was apprehended approximately one block south. He admitted to the robbery and implicated Wilson as an accomplice. After questioning, Wilson also admitted to the robbery.

         Wilson was charged with first-degree robbery. On August 5, 2017, Wilson filed a motion to transfer the case to juvenile court. The district court denied Wilson's motion, citing a lack of time and resources, Wilson's culpability, the severity of the offense, and the effect on the victim.

         On April 7, Wilson pled guilty to first-degree robbery, in violation of section 711.2, a class "B" felony. The State agreed not to recommend the imposition of a mandatory minimum sentence. The presentence investigation report recommended a prison sentence over probation. At sentencing, the State argued for a term of imprisonment not to exceed twenty-five years and Wilson argued for a deferred judgment. The district court specifically noted,

The Court has reviewed the exhibits provided by the defense at today's hearing, including the Reverse Waiver Report and I have also reviewed the Presentence Investigation Report completed by the Department of Correctional Services and considered the arguments of counsel. I also am familiar with the decision cited by the defense, State v. Lyle and State v. Roby and have considered the factors that the defense brought to the Court's attention in those matters as well. And in reviewing the case, the Court determines that at this point in time, the request for a deferred judgment should be denied. And I am going to pronounce judgment and sentence today based on the factors that I already mentioned and the factors set out in Iowa Code Section 907.5 and, again, I have considered the factors set forth in the case law, including but not limited to, you know, age, prior record, family circumstances, etcetera, of the defendant and I do believe that the recommendations of the First Judicial District Department of Correctional Services in this case are appropriate and I do not believe that those recommendations are mutually exclusive of rehabilitation. I do believe Mr. Wilson is capable of rehabilitation and I believe that can happen under the order the Court is imposing today.
And so I will sentence Mr. Wilson to a term of imprisonment not to exceed 25 years. No mandatory minimum ...

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