review from the Iowa Court of Appeals.
from the Iowa District Court for Greene County, Adria A.D.
Kester, District Associate Judge.
convicted of theft in the second degree appeals from the
provision of a sentencing order relating to the taxation of
court courts. DECISION OF COURT OF APPEALS VACATED; DISTRICT
COURT JUDGMENT AND SENTENCE AFFIRMED IN PART, REVERSED IN
PART, AND REMANDED.
C. Smith, State Appellate Defender (until withdrawal), and
Brenda J. Gohr, Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, Kyle P. Hanson, Assistant
Attorney General, and Nicola Martino, County Attorney, for
appeal from a judgment and sentence on conviction of the
crime of theft in the second degree, the defendant claims the
district court imposed an illegal sentence by requiring him
to pay the total court costs in the case. We vacate the
decision of the court of appeals, affirm the district court
in part, reverse in part, and remand the case for
resentencing on the taxation of court costs.
Background Facts and Proceedings.
State charged Tyson Ruth by an eight-count trial information
with multiple crimes of burglary, theft, possession of
illegal drugs, and a single count of ongoing criminal
conduct. The crimes involved multiple victims. A portion of
the evidence supporting the charges was a product of a search
of Ruth's home by police pursuant to a warrant.
was appointed to represent Ruth in the case, and he filed a
motion to suppress the evidence. On the day of the hearing on
the motion, the State and Ruth reached a plea agreement.
Under the agreement, Ruth would plead guilty to one count of
theft in the second degree, and the remaining counts of the
trial information would be dismissed. The count of conviction
involved a theft from a victim named Michael Strautman. The
prosecutor and Ruth agreed victim restitution would be
limited to the count of conviction. The prosecutor also
informed the court that the State would be asking that Ruth
pay court costs, but no agreement between the parties was
identified. The plea agreement was subsequently memorialized
during the plea hearing. In explaining the sentence and
punishment Ruth faced by pleading guilty, the district court
informed him that he "would be required to pay court
costs of '[the] action, including costs of your
court-appointed attorney.' "
sentencing hearing, the district court imposed a sentence for
the crime of theft in the second degree. In doing so, it
ordered that Ruth pay the "court costs of [the]
action." The judgment and sentence also dismissed the
remaining counts in the case, adding that the "costs are
taxed to the defendant." A docket report subsequently
generated by the clerk of court in the case identified court
costs of $482.20. These costs included a $100 filing fee for
the trial information; eight sheriff fees ranging from $21.50
to $43.76 for serving subpoenas to various individuals,
including Michael Strautman; a $40 court reporter fee of a
plea hearing; a $40 court reporter fee for the sentencing;
and a sheriff's fee of $69.98 to transport Ruth to serve
his sentence of incarceration. The district court determined
Ruth was not able to pay the court-appointed attorney fees.
appealed from the judgment and sentence. He claimed the
district court should have apportioned the court costs to
limit his responsibility to pay only those costs associated
with the single count that resulted in the conviction. He
claimed no agreement existed for him to pay the costs
associated with the dismissed counts. Ruth also raised claims
of ineffective assistance of trial counsel.
transferred the case to the court of appeals. It found Ruth
failed to show that the total bill of costs he was ordered to
pay included costs associated with the dismissed counts. The
court of appeals further found the claims of ineffective
assistance of counsel should be resolved by postconviction
relief. Ruth sought, and we granted, further review.