from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Jeffrey D.
Peterson appeals the judgment and sentence entered after
pleading guilty to possession of controlled substance with
intent to deliver, second offense.
Matthew R. Metzgar of Rhinehart Law, P.C., Sioux City, for
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Zachary Miller, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Vogel, C.J., and Doyle and Mullins, JJ.
Peterson was arrested after police found a bag of
methamphetamine in the vehicle he was traveling in during a
traffic stop. Although Peterson denied the methamphetamine
belonged to him, he admitted to selling methamphetamine
earlier that day. The State charged Peterson with possession
of more than five grams of methamphetamine with intent to
deliver as a second offender and a tax-stamp violation.
See Iowa Code §§ 124.401(1)(b)(7),
124.411, 453B.3, 453B.12 (2017). Peterson pled guilty to
possession of five grams or less of methamphetamine with
intent to deliver as a second offender. See Iowa
Code §§ 124.401(1)(c)(6), 124.411. The district
court accepted his plea and sentenced Peterson to a term of
not more than twelve years in prison.
Ineffective Assistance of Counsel.
appeal, Peterson first challenges the knowing and voluntary
nature of his guilty plea. He raises this claim under an
ineffective-assistance-of-counsel rubric, alleging his
counsel was ineffective by failing to file a motion in arrest
of judgment to challenge the knowing and voluntary nature of
his plea. See State v. Weitzel, 905 N.W.2d 397, 401
(Iowa 2017) (stating a defendant's failure to file a
motion in arrest of judgment waives right to challenge guilty
plea on direct appeal unless it results from ineffective
assistance of counsel). In order to prove ineffective
assistance, he is required to show "there is a
reasonable probability that, but for counsel's errors, he
or she would not have pleaded guilty and would have insisted
on going to trial." Id. at 402 (citation
omitted). Counsel breaches an essential duty by failing to
file a motion in arrest of judgment when a defendant's
plea was not knowing and voluntary. See State v.
Straw, 709 N.W.2d 128, 134 (Iowa 2006). Prejudice is
established if the record shows a reasonable probability that
the defendant would not have entered a plea and would have
insisted on going to trial if counsel had not breached that
duty. See id. at 138.
Rule of Criminal Procedure 2.8(2)(b) details what the trial
court must do to ensure a plea is knowing and voluntary.
See State v. Everett, 372 N.W.2d 235, 236 (Iowa
1985). In determining whether the requirements of rule
2.8(2)(b) have been met, "we apply the substantial
compliance standard." Weitzel, 905 N.W.2d at
406. In other words, "the essence" of each
requirement must be expressed. Id. (citation
first alleges the district court failed to advise him
adequately concerning the rights he was waiving before he
entered his plea and showed a factual basis for it. Although
rule 2.8(2)(b) requires the court to inform a defendant of
the rights being waived, there is no requirement that this
occur before the defendant enters the plea. Rather, the court
is required to inform the defendant of the waiver of these
rights before it accepts the guilty plea.
See Iowa R. Crim. P. 2.8(2)(b) (stating the court
must ascertain the defendant's understanding of the
rights being waived "[b]efore accepting a plea of
guilty"). Although Peterson informed the court he was
pleading guilty before the court engaged in the full
colloquoy, the court did not accept the plea until after
reviewing with Peterson the rights he was waiving. Counsel
had no duty to object on this basis.
also alleges that the court failed to advise him regarding
the elements of either the underlying offense or the
sentencing enhancement. However, "the court need not
review and explain each element of the crime if it
is 'apparent in the circumstances the defendant
understood the nature of the charge.'" State v.
Loye, 670 N.W.2d 141, 151 (Iowa 2003) (citation
omitted). Instead, the court need only ensure the defendant
understands "[t]he nature of the charge to which the
plea is offered." Iowa R. Crim. P. 2.8(2)(b). The
transcript of the plea proceeding demonstrates the court
ensured Peterson understood the nature of the offense by
asking Peterson to explain in his own words what he did that
made him guilty of possession of less than five grams of
methamphetamine with the intent to deliver. The court
confirmed that Peterson had reviewed the minutes of evidence
and did not object to the court considering it in determining
a factual basis for the plea. Finally, the court reviewed the
requirements for the sentencing enhancement, ascertaining
that Peterson understood the State was alleging he was
"convicted on July 20, 2000, in Polk County of the crime
of conspiracy to manufacture a controlled substance,"
that the crime was a felony offense, and that he was
represented by an attorney during the course of that case.
The record shows the court complied with the requirement that
Peterson understand the nature of the offense to which he was
Peterson argues the court failed to conform to the procedure
to ensure a defendant who stipulates to a prior conviction
for the purpose of a sentencing enhancement does so knowingly
and voluntarily. See State v. Harrington, 893 N.W.2d
36, 45-46 (Iowa 2017). Generally, the court should follow the
same protocol used to ensure a guilty plea is knowing and
voluntary as set forth in rule 2.8(2)(b). See id. at
45. Although Peterson argues the best practice would be for
the court to bifurcate the plea proceeding with one hearing
for the underlying offense and one hearing for the sentencing
enhancement, he cites no authority for this proposition.
is correct that although the district court apprised him of
the rights he was waiving by pleading guilty, the court made
no specific statements concerning his rights with regard to
the sentencing enhancement. Specifically, the court did not
inform Peterson he was entitled to a separate trial on the
sentencing enhancement. Even assuming the court failed to
substantially comply with the requirements set forth in
Harrington, we are unable to determine on the
current record whether Peterson was prejudiced by
counsel's failure to file a motion in arrest of judgment
on this basis. Accordingly, we preserve this claim for a
postconviction proceeding. See State v. Harris, 919
N.W.2d 753, 754 (Iowa 2018) ("If the development of the
ineffective-assistance claim in the appellate brief was
insufficient to allow its consideration, the court of appeals
should not consider the claim, but it should not outright
reject it."); see also State v. Gomez, No.