from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Odell G. McGhee
II, District Associate Judge.
appeals his conviction and sentence after pleading guilty to
Jessica Maffitt of Benzoni Law Office, PLC, Des Moines, for
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Kyle P. Hanson, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Vogel and Tabor, JJ.
Cooper appeals his conviction and sentence after he entered
into an Alford plea for fourth-degree theft. First,
Cooper claims that he received ineffective assistance of
counsel because his counsel allowed him to enter into the
Alford plea even though there was no factual basis
for the plea. Second, Cooper argues that the district court
erred by accepting the plea due to the lack of factual basis.
We find there was factual basis in the record to support the
plea and therefore the ineffective-assistance-of-counsel
claim fails and the district court did not err by accepting
Background Facts and Proceedings
August 6, 2017, H.B. left a black Samsung Galaxy S5 cellphone
in an unlocked vehicle, which was parked in a parking lot,
while he went to work. H.B. left the vehicle unattended
between 3:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. When H.B. returned to the
vehicle, the cellphone was no longer inside. H.B. suspected
that the cellphone was lost until his stepfather received
several calls from the cellphone by an anonymous person who
would not speak.
November 10, law enforcement received a call from a company
that processes used electronics stating they had received a
stolen cellphone notification for a phone deposited into a
kiosk located inside a Wal-Mart in Altoona. A Wal-Mart
employee told law enforcement that the cellphone was
deposited in the kiosk on October 7. The employee also
disclosed that when a person deposits a cellphone into the
kiosk, that person must provide their information and a
photograph, and the cellphone is held for thirty days before
being transferred to another company that will resell the
cellphone. Wal-Mart provided law enforcement with a video of
the person depositing the cellphone in the kiosk. Based on
this information, law enforcement identified Robert Cooper as
the person who deposited the cellphone.
enforcement contacted Cooper about the cellphone. Cooper
stated that he fixes cellphones and he frequently deposits
cellphones in the kiosk in exchange for cash. He also stated
that he purchases used cellphones from Goodwill and other
sources. At first, Cooper told law enforcement that he was
not sure how he obtained the specific cellphone because he
purchases many used cellphones and had multiple Samsung
Galaxy S5 phones at one point. Later, Cooper stated that he
remembered purchasing a bin at Goodwill that contained
various items, including two Samsung Galaxy S5 cellphones. He
also said that he did have the receipt, but the receipt only
indicated that he purchased a bin from Goodwill; specific
items were not listed on the receipt. Law enforcement spoke
with the Goodwill store that Cooper identified, and an
employee informed them that Goodwill store does not sell or
recycle cellphones and it would be rare for them to miss a
cellphone when organizing items for sale.
November 28, Cooper was arrested for third-degree
theft. On January 18, 2018, Cooper entered into
an Alford plea to a lesser-included offense, theft
in the fourth-degree. Cooper appeals his conviction and
sentence, asserting his counsel was ineffective for allowing
him to enter into the plea without a factual basis and the
district court erred in accepting the plea without a factual
Standard of Review
review the claim of a lack of factual basis to an
Alford plea for the correction of errors at law.
State v. Keene, 630 N.W.2d 579, 581 (Iowa 2001);
State v. Martin, 778 N.W.2d 201, 202 (Iowa Ct. App.
2009). However, ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claims are
reviewed de novo, and this would include such ...