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State v. Gordon

Court of Appeals of Iowa

September 12, 2018

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
BENJAMIN T. GORDON, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Jasper County, John D. Lloyd, Judge.

         Benjamin Gordon appeals his convictions, following guilty pleas, of second-degree theft and third-degree burglary.

          Mark C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Robert P. Ranschau, Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Kyle P. Hanson, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Doyle and Mullins, JJ.

          MULLINS, JUDGE.

         Benjamin Gordon appeals his convictions, following guilty pleas, of second-degree theft and third-degree burglary. He asserts his trial counsel was ineffective in allowing him to plead guilty when there was an insufficient factual basis to establish his intent to permanently deprive the owner of their property.

         On November 20, 2017, Benjamin Gordon was charged with theft in the second degree as a habitual offender and burglary in the third degree.[1] At a gas station in Newton, Gordon entered an unattended vehicle that had the ignition key in it and drove away. The owner attempted to run down the vehicle but was unsuccessful and so reported the vehicle stolen. Gordon drove the vehicle at high rates of speed without headlights from Newton to Des Moines. While on the interstate on his way back to Newton, Gordon lost control, crashed the vehicle, and caused extensive damage. After police arrested Gordon and read him his rights, he made several statements-he was joyriding, he took the vehicle because he was cold, he planned to sell it for meth or keep it, and he took money out of a wallet left in the vehicle. Gordon gave the money back to the vehicle owner.

         On December 4, Gordon pled guilty to the charges without the habitual-offender enhancement. During the plea colloquy, Gordon and the court engaged in the following discussion:

THE COURT: Tell me what you did on November 12 of this year that makes you guilty of this offense.
THE DEFENDANT: What did I do?
THE COURT: Yes, sir.
THE DEFENDANT: Well, I stole a car from the Hy-Vee convenience store and gas station. At first I was going to do it because it was cold outside and all I had on was a hoodie. I didn't have a jacket or anything. And then after I got in the car, I started having thoughts to, you know, drive it around for a while and get rid of it.
He's saying that I need to admit to I took it or I was thinking. I told the state trooper that I was thinking about selling it for meth or possibly keep it for myself. Yeah, I did not ...

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