from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Scott D.
appeals her convictions for neglect of a dependent person and
dependent-adult abuse resulting in injury.
C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Robert P. Ranschau,
Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Linda J. Hines, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Mullins and Bower, JJ.
Eubanks appeals her convictions for neglect of a dependent
person and dependent-adult abuse resulting in injury. We find
the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying
Eubanks's post-plea motion for new counsel. We affirm the
Background Facts & Proceedings
2015 to 2017, Eubanks was employed as a caregiver for A.B., a
young adult female with cerebral palsy. A.B. is unable to
take care of herself. On May 28, 2017, Eubanks filled a
bathtub with scalding hot water. Outside Eubanks's
supervision, A.B. got into the bath and sustained
second-degree burns. Eubanks did not seek medical attention
for A.B. for five days or disclose the burns to A.B.'s
family or her employer. Following A.B.'s injuries,
Eubanks drove A.B. to Florida without telling anyone where
they were going, using only over-the-counter ointment to
treat A.B.'s burns. A.B.'s burns turned septic before
Eubanks sought medical assistance for her in Florida. A.B.,
who had blisters all over her body, was hospitalized for two
weeks. The hospital discovered a piece missing from
A.B.'s feeding tube, which Eubanks stated had been
missing for a while and instead she had been feeding A.B.
October 29, the State charged Eubanks with one count of
kidnapping in the first degree, in violation of Iowa Code
sections 710.1(4) and .2 (2017), and two counts of neglect of
a dependent person, in violation of section 726.3. Eubanks
entered into a plea agreement with the State and on February
9, 2018, pleaded guilty to the two counts of neglect of a
dependent person and an amended count of dependent-adult
abuse resulting in injury. At the plea hearing, Eubanks
initially decided not to enter a plea but changed her mind
and accepted the plea offer after a short recess. As part of
the plea, the parties jointly recommended consecutive
letter written February 12 and received by the court on
February 27, Eubanks requested a new attorney simply stating,
"I am not happy with my representation" and
suggesting alternate counsel. In a second letter dated
February 27, Eubanks renewed her request claiming her counsel
had been dishonest and provided erroneous instruction
regarding her plea. The court treated the letters as a motion
to change representation; following a hearing, the court
denied Eubanks's request. The court entered judgment and
sentence on March 28, imposing three consecutive terms of ten
years on each count to be served concurrent to a sentence
imposed by the state of Florida. Eubanks appeals the district
court's denial of her post-plea request for a new
Standard of Review
decision to grant a motion for substitute counsel is a matter
within the trial court's discretion." State v.
Tejeda, 677 N.W.2d 744, 750 (Iowa 2004). "To
establish an abuse of discretion, [a defendant] must show
that 'the court exercised the discretion on grounds or
for reasons clearly untenable or to an extent clearly
unreasonable.'" State v. Lopez, 633 N.W.2d
774, 778 (Iowa 2001) (quoting State v. Maghee, 573
N.W.2d 1, 5 (Iowa 1997)).