from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Robert B.
Hanson, Judge. (1989). We nonetheless exercise our discretion
defendant appeals his conviction and sentence for assault
with intent to commit sexual abuse causing bodily injury.
C. Glazebrook, Thomas Hurd, and Andrew Duffelmeyer of
Glazebrook & Hurd, LLP, Des Moines, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Genevieve Reinkoester,
Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Mullins and Bower, JJ.
Aaron Ortiz turned eighteen in 2015, the probate court
appointed his mother, Mandi Smith, as his guardian under Iowa
Code section 633.556 (2015). The guardianship continued in
2017 when Ortiz pleaded guilty to assault with intent to
commit sexual abuse causing bodily injury. He now appeals his
conviction and sentence for that crime. He alleges, for the
first time on appeal, because his status as ward and his
intellectual disabilities prevented him from making legal
decisions, his guardian should have been involved in all
critical stages of his criminal case- especially the
competency proceedings under Iowa Code chapter 812 (2017) and
the guilty plea hearing. He asks us to vacate his conviction
and remand for new proceedings with the participation of his
guardian. Alternatively, Ortiz argues his prison sentence
constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.
advances novel legal issues on a meager factual record.
See State v. Webster, 865 N.W.2d 223, 231 (Iowa
2015) ("Our review in this case is impacted by the
limited nature of the advocacy and the limited record
developed below."). Ortiz acknowledges, despite having
legal representation, he did not argue his claims about the
guardian's participation to the district court. Yet on
appeal he does not blame his plea counsel. Instead, to excuse
his failure to raise these issues, he cites the concept of
structural error and his alleged incompetence. On this
undeveloped record, neither ground allows us to reach the
merits of Ortiz's challenge to his conviction.
his sentencing claim, we cannot find it is categorically
unconstitutional to impose a prison term of any length on an
adult with intellectual disabilities. Accordingly, we affirm
his conviction and sentence.
Facts and Prior Proceeding
March 2015, the probate court considered the functional
limitations of Aaron Ortiz and decided a limited guardianship
would not be appropriate. The court granted his mother plenary
powers to make legal decisions on his behalf. See
Iowa Code § 633.635 (2015).
2017, T.Y. was returning home from walking her dog when Ortiz
approached her, asking if she knew a certain person. She told
him she just recently moved into the neighborhood and was not
yet well acquainted. She suggested "the lady across the
street" might be a better resource. Ortiz asked for pen
and paper to jot down that neighbor's name. T.Y.
retrieved pen and paper for him. But when she tried to
reenter her front door, according to the minutes of evidence,
Ortiz "suddenly and for no reason given, reached around
her with both hands and aggressively grabbed her breasts and
began squeezing and pinching." T.Y. was able to grab her
cell phone and call 911. At the prospect of police
responding, Ortiz left her front porch on foot. A neighbor
witnessed Ortiz "manhandling" T.Y. and drove around
looking for the suspect, eventually locating Ortiz for the
State charged Ortiz with assault with intent to commit sexual
abuse causing bodily injury, a class "D" felony, in
violation of Iowa Code section 709.11(2) (2017). Defense
counsel asked for a competency evaluation of Ortiz,
Evident from the undersigned's interactions with the
[d]efendant, the undersigned believes the [d]efendant suffers
from a serious mental health issue. The [d]efendant also has
a probation violation pending in FECR296889, and during that
underlying case, a competency evaluation was completed by Dr.
Craig Rypma where the defendant was found to not be competent
to stand trial. The defendant is under a guardianship due to
his intellectual disability.
counsel asked for Dr. Rypma to again examine Ortiz.
district court suspended the proceedings and ordered Ortiz to
be examined by Dr. Michael Huston to determine his competency
to stand trial under chapter 812. Dr. Huston interviewed
Ortiz at the Polk County jail on July 7, 2017. Dr. Huston
also interviewed Ortiz's mother and guardian, Mandi
Smith. According to the psychologist's report, the
guardian said Ortiz "was given a diagnosis of Attention
Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder at an early age, and that in
the past 10 years he has received diagnoses of Intellectually
Disabled and Autism Spectrum Disorder."
his evaluation, Dr. Huston concluded Ortiz "showed
minimal impairment in his ability to understand and
appreciate the charge against him and his legal
situation." The doctor further found Ortiz showed
"mild impairment" in his ability to understand
legal proceedings and in his ability to assist in his own
defense. Overall, Dr. Huston found Ortiz competent to stand
Mr. Ortiz has a mental health condition that has been
diagnosed as Autism Spectrum Disorder, Impulse Control
Disorder, and possibly Intellectual Disability. He is
currently receiving and complying with psychiatric treatment
at the jail, which appears to be controlling his symptoms
effectively. His treatment at the IMCC in Oakdale last fall
and winter apparently was helpful in ...