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State v. Richmond

Court of Appeals of Iowa

September 12, 2018

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
ELGIN SHABAZZ RICHMOND SR., Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Hancock County, Karen Kaufman Salic, District Associate Judge.

         The defendant appeals from the district court's judgment and sentence, ordering the defendant to pay the expert-witness fee and court costs. AFFIRMED.

          Nicholas T. Larson of Larson Law Office, PLLC, Osage, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Thomas J. Ogden, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Bower and McDonald, JJ.

          POTTERFIELD, Presiding Judge.

         Elgin Richmond Sr. appeals from the district court's judgment and sentence, ordering him to pay $3255.20 for expert-witness fees. He argues the court was wrong to order him to pay his expert-witness fees and failed to determine whether he had the reasonable ability to the pay the fee. In the alternative, he maintains he received ineffective assistance from trial counsel because counsel failed to request authorization to obtain an expert at public expense and failed to contest Richmond's ability to pay fees and costs.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         In September 2017, Richmond was charged with domestic abuse assault, third or subsequent offense, and domestic abuse assault by strangulation. The State alleged both charges were subject to the habitual-offender enhancement.

         Richmond filed a financial affidavit and application for appointment of counsel, in which he stated he did not have a job and had earned zero dollars in the previous twelve months. Counsel was appointed by the court.

         Richmond was originally released on the pending charges but was again taken into custody after the State filed a pretrial report of violation. Bail was set at $10, 000. Richmond filed a motion for bond review, which the district court set for hearing. At the bond hearing, Richmond testified he was employed prior to being arrested, stating he was working "off and on" and "had worked probably like two, three weeks before . . . I had actually got arrested." When asked why he stated on his affidavit that he had earned zero dollars in the previous twelve months, he said that he must have misread the question. He testified it was "definitely a regular" job that he had waiting for him. The district court declined to reset bail.

          In January 2018, Richmond entered a guilty plea to the amended charge of assault while displaying a dangerous weapon. As part of an agreement, the State dismissed the charge for domestic abuse assault by strangulation. Additionally, Richmond waived his right to prepare for and be present at sentencing. Richmond wrote on the "waiver of presence form," stating he was not reasonably able to pay the total costs and fees incurred for legal assistance because "[he was] going to prison and due to [his] potential parole in the matter it is unclear when [he] will be released. [He] ask[ed] attorney fees be waived as [he was] unable to pay." Richmond explicitly waived any further hearing regarding his ability to pay as part of the waiver of presence form.

         The same day, the district court entered its judgment and sentence. Richmond was sentenced to a two-year term of incarceration and was ordered to pay $3255.20 for expert witness fees.[1] The fine related to the conviction was ...


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