from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Odell G. McGhee
and William A. Price (sentencing), District Associate Judges.
defendant appeals his conviction for driving while his
license was denied or revoked.
C. Audlehelm of Audlehelm Law Office, Des Moines, for
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Thomas E. Bakke, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Vogel and Tabor, JJ.
found Robert Esparza guilty of driving while revoked. On
appeal, Esparza contends his trial counsel was ineffective
for failing to move to suppress statements he made during an
alleged custodial interrogation before police gave him the
Miranda warning. Because the record is inadequate to
decide this issue, we affirm Esparza's conviction but
preserve his ineffective-assistance claim for possible
Facts and Prior Proceedings
March 2017, a Kum & Go convenience store clerk called
West Des Moines police to report "an unwanted
guest" disrupting business. When Officer Kyle Slifka
arrived, he saw Robert Esparza standing near the cash
register, "eating a bag of Cheetos." Officer Slifka
noticed Esparza "was missing his mouth trying to get the
Cheetos," leaving telltale orange crumbs "all over
his shirt." As the officer spoke to Esparza, he detected
signs of intoxication, including slurred speech, the smell of
alcoholic beverages, confusion, and unsteady
balance. The officer asked Esparza, "How did
you get here?" Esparza pointed to his car and said,
"I drove here."
Esparza's admission, the two went outside and stood by
Esparza's car. Officer Slifka asked Esparza more
questions to learn "what exactly was going on," but
he "[n]ever really got any clear-cut answer." The
officer ran a computer check of Esparza's driver's
license and discovered it was revoked.
State charged Esparza with driving while revoked in violation
of Iowa Code section 321J.21 (2017). The case proceeded to a
jury trial. On September 18, Esparza's attorney moved in
limine to exclude "[a]ny evidence regarding
defendant's statement that he drove on the date of his
arrest." Counsel elaborated in a supplemental motion in
limine filed September 24, "Since arrest had occurred,
or was about to occur, the officer was required to inform the
defendant of his Constitutional rights pursuant to
Miranda," and because Esparza "was not
informed of his Constitutional rights[, the] statements he
made to the investigating officer [are] not admissible in
this case." Trial began September 25. The State resisted
the Miranda claim as untimely, asserting Esparza
should have filed a motion to suppress. The court agreed and
denied the limine motion.
jury found Esparza guilty. He now appeals, contending his
attorney was ineffective in failing to file a timely motion
to suppress the challenged statements.
claims his attorney was ineffective for failing to timely
move to suppress statements he made to Officer Slifka before
receiving Miranda warnings. We ordinarily reserve
ineffective-assistance claims for postconviction proceedings
so the parties may develop the record. See State v.
Thorndike, 860 N.W.2d 316, 319 (Iowa ...