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State v. Brown

Court of Appeals of Iowa

April 3, 2019

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
ROBERT ALLEN BROWN, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Nancy S. Tabor and Joel W. Barrows, Judges.

         Defendant appeals his conviction and sentence for operating while intoxicated.

          G. Brian Weiler, Davenport, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Thomas J. Ogden, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Considered by Vogel, C.J., Vaitheswaran, J., and Carr, S.J. [*] Tabor, J., takes no part.

          VOGEL, Chief Judge.

         Robert Brown pled guilty to operating while intoxicated, third offense, in violation of Iowa Code section 321J.2(2)(c) (2017). He now appeals his conviction and sentence. On appeal, Brown asserts his counsel was ineffective for allowing the district court to accept his guilty plea without a factual basis.

         Generally, we review challenges to guilty pleas for correction of errors at law. State v. Tate, 710 N.W.2d 237, 239 (Iowa 2006). "However, when the challenge arises in the context of an ineffective-assistance claim, our standard of review is de novo." Id. For Brown to prevail on his ineffective-assistance claim, he must show counsel failed to perform an essential duty and such failure resulted in prejudice. State v. Straw, 709 N.W.2d 128, 133 (Iowa 2006) (citing Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 687-88 (1984)). A district court "shall not accept a plea of guilty without first determining that the plea . . . has a factual basis." Iowa R. Crim. P. 2.8(2)(b). Therefore, "[w]here a factual basis for a charge does not exist, and trial counsel allows the defendant to plead guilty anyway, counsel has failed to perform an essential duty." State v. Schminkey, 597 N.W.2d 785, 788 (Iowa 1999).

         "A factual basis can be discerned from four sources: (1) inquiry of the defendant, (2) inquiry of the prosecutor, (3) examination of the presentence report, and (4) minutes of evidence." State v. Ortiz, 789 N.W.2d 761, 768 (Iowa 2010). At the plea hearing, the following colloquy occurred:

THE COURT: Will you tell me in your own words just what caused you to be charged with OWI third or subsequent offense?
BROWN: Stopped, had a couple drinks, just got off work and got a little-got carried away with it and got in a vehicle and drove home and made a wrong choice.
THE COURT: Well, when you say you had a couple drinks, were they alcoholic beverages?
BROWN: They were mixed drinks, alcohol, hard liquor, yeah.
THE COURT: And at the time you were driving, were you under the influence of an alcoholic beverage so your abilities to drive ...

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