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State v. Harriman

Court of Appeals of Iowa

February 20, 2019

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
KRISTEN FRANCES HARRIMAN, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, William P. Kelly (first plea), Robert B. Hanson (second plea and sentencing), and Heather L. Lauber (revocation), Judges.

         Kristen Harriman appeals her convictions following Alford pleas to second-degree theft and third-degree theft.

          Elena M. Greenberg of Greenberg & Hurd, LLP, Des Moines, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Thomas E. Bakke, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

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

          BOWER, JUDGE.

         Kristen Harriman appeals her convictions for second-degree theft and third-degree theft. On appeal, Harriman contends her trial counsel was constitutionally ineffective for permitting her to enter Alford pleas without a sufficient factual basis for the pleas and failing to file a motion in arrest of judgment.[1] We find a sufficient factual basis existed for Harriman's Alford pleas and counsel did not provide ineffective assistance.

         I. Background Facts & Proceedings

         On July 30, 2016, a ranger impounded a car at Jester Park, leaving its occupants, Harriman and David Wicker, on foot. On July 31, Jester Park Golf Course reported the clubhouse had been broken into and a truck, tools, and two lock boxes of employee records had been taken. On August 11, Missouri state park rangers conducting a consent search of Wicker and Harriman's campsite in Wallace State Park found the truck, tools, and records from the golf course. Harriman told the rangers the couple had purchased the vehicle without a title.

         On November 18, the State filed a trial information charging Harriman individually, by joint criminal conduct, or by aiding and abetting another with second-degree theft, third-degree theft, and third-degree burglary. At a December 14 plea hearing, Harriman attempted to plead guilty to third-degree burglary and third-degree theft. Harriman's statement to establish the factual basis for her plea to the burglary charge indicated Wicker had gone to get the truck while Harriman remained at their campsite. The court rejected Harriman's guilty plea to third-degree burglary, finding an insufficient factual basis to support the burglary plea due to her statement she did not enter the structure. The court halted the plea hearing without reaching the third-degree theft charge.

         A second plea hearing occurred January 3, 2017, and Harriman entered Alford pleas to second-degree theft and third-degree theft. When the court asked Harriman if she thought she would probably be convicted if the witnesses testified as indicated in the trial information and minutes of testimony, she answered, "Yes." The court found sufficient factual basis existed and accepted Harriman's pleas. At the February 15 sentencing hearing, the court deferred judgment on both counts and placed Harriman on probation for three years.

         On December 29, a report of probation violation was filed, resulting in the court revoking Harriman's deferred judgment on January 26, 2018, adjudicating her guilty of second-degree and third-degree theft, and sentencing her to consecutive sentences of five and two years in prison. The court suspended her sentence and placed her on probation again. Harriman appeals, claiming ineffective assistance of counsel.

         II. Standard of Review

         Appellate review for a lack-of-a-factual-basis challenge to a guilty plea is for correction of errors of law. State v. Martin, 778 N.W.2d 201, 202 (Iowa Ct. App. 2009). We review claims of ineffective assistance of counsel de novo. Ennenga v. State, 812 N.W.2d 696, 701 (Iowa 2012). To establish a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, a defendant must show (1) the attorney failed to perform an essential duty and (2) prejudice resulted to the extent it denied the defendant a fair trial. State v. Carroll, 767 N.W.2d 638, 641 (Iowa 2009). A defendant has the burden to show by a preponderance of the evidence counsel was ineffective. State v. ...


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