Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. Rathjen

Court of Appeals of Iowa

October 24, 2018

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
ASHLEY RATHJEN, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, David N. May, Judge.

         Ashley Rathjen appeals her convictions for possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver.

          Blake D. Lubinus of Lubinus Law Firm, PLLC, Des Moines, for appellant.

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

          Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Vogel and Tabor, JJ.

          VOGEL, JUDGE.

         Ashley Rathjen appeals her convictions for two counts of possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine) with intent to deliver, as a subsequent offender. She argues her counsel was ineffective for allowing her to plead guilty after denial of her motion to dismiss and for failing to file a motion in arrest of judgment to preserve her challenge to her guilty plea. We find the record inadequate to address her claims. Therefore, we affirm her convictions and preserve her claims for possible postconviciton proceedings.

         On February 9, 2016, the State filed a trial information charging Rathjen in case number FECR291675 with multiple offenses, including possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver. According to the minutes of evidence, on or about December 31, 2015, officers with the Des Moines Police Department found approximately thirty-six grams of methamphetamine and related paraphernalia inside Rathjen's home. Following her arrest, she agreed to cooperate with law enforcement on pending investigations. On July 22, 2016, she signed a "Memorandum of Understanding" with the State setting the terms of her cooperation. Also on July 22, she signed a waiver of her rights to speedy trial and an admission that she possessed methamphetamine with the intent to deliver on December 31, 2015. Case number FECR291675 was subsequently dismissed.[1]

         Rathjen failed to comply with the cooperation agreement. On October 26, 2016, the State filed a trial information for case number FECR299016 charging Rathjen with multiple offenses, including possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver. According to the minutes of evidence, on or about September 19, 2016, law enforcement officers searched Rathjen's vehicle as part of her ongoing cooperation and found a crystalline substance that tested positive for methamphetamine. Officers then searched her home and found several narcotics and related paraphernalia. They subsequently arrested her and terminated her cooperation agreement. On October 26, the State filed a trial information in case number FECR299018, charging her again with possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and other offenses related to her arrest on December 31, 2015. On November 3, she was arraigned on both FECR299016 and FECR299018.

         On December 1, 2016, Rathjen filed a motion captioned "Waiver of Speedy Trial" for case numbers FECR299016 and FECR299018. This motion states, in its entirety, "Defendant hereby waives her constitutional and statutory right to a speedy trial with respect to the public offense(s) charged in this action." On July 13, 2017, she filed a motion to dismiss the charges in FECR299018, arguing the charges dated back to her earlier arraignment for case number FECR291675 and therefore violated her one-year right to a speedy trial.[2] On July 21, the court denied her motion to dismiss and ruled on other pending motions.

         On Friday, July 28, 2017, Rathjen pled guilty to the two counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver in case numbers FECR299016 and FECR299018. However, at Rathjen's request, the court did not make final acceptance of her plea at the time. On Monday, July 31, the court held a hearing to accept her plea, during which she said she no longer wanted to plead guilty.[3] The court accepted her plea despite her statement, noting it had "previously found that Defendant was acting voluntarily in pleading guilty and that she fully understood the rights and consequences of her plea and there was a factual basis for the plea." On September 12, the court sentenced her to terms of incarceration of thirty years for case number FECR299016 and twenty-five years for case number FECR299018, the sentences to run consecutively. During the sentencing hearing, Rathjen said she was "in shock" during the July 31 hearing, she needed several days to be "able to look at it, admit it, and accept it," and she now accepted she "was helping drug dealers."

         Rathjen now appeals. She argues her counsel was ineffective for allowing her to plead guilty after the court's denial of her motion to dismiss. She also argues her guilty plea was not made knowingly and voluntarily, and her counsel was ineffective for failing to file a motion in arrest of judgment to preserve her challenge to her guilty plea.

         We review ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claims de novo. State v. Maxwell, 743 N.W.2d 185, 195 (Iowa 2012). "In order to succeed on a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, a defendant must prove: (1) counsel failed to perform an essential duty; and (2) prejudice resulted." Id. (citing Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 687 (1984)). The defendant must satisfy both prongs to prevail. Id.

Of course, if a defendant wishes to have an ineffective-assistance claim resolved on direct appeal, the defendant will be required to establish an adequate record to allow the appellate court to address the issue. If the defendant requests that the court decide the claim on direct appeal, it is for the court to determine whether the record is adequate and, if so, to resolve the claim. If, however, the court determines the claim cannot be addressed on appeal, the court must preserve ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.