from the Iowa District Court for Des Moines County, Emily S.
Dean, District Associate Judge.
defendant appeals his conviction for being absent from
William Monroe, Burlington, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Louis S. Sloven, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Tabor and Bower, JJ.
outing to the neighborhood Buffalo Wild Wings and Walmart is
not interchangeable with a road trip to Illinois. Griffin
Meyer learned this lesson the hard way when he was convicted
of being absent from custody for deviating from his approved
furlough plan. Meyer appeals his serious misdemeanor
conviction, challenging the sufficiency of the evidence and
presenting several claims of ineffective assistance of
counsel. Because the State offered nearly uncontested
evidence supporting the elements of the offense, and Meyer
cannot show prejudice from counsel's performance, we
Facts and Prior Proceedings
result of a felony conviction, in the fall of 2017, Meyer
lived at the Burlington Men's Residential Correctional
Facility, a halfway house. His probation officer would not
permit contact between Meyer and his wife,
Mari. Despite Meyer's circumstances, Mari
scheduled their son's baptism for October 8 at her church
in Monmouth, Illinois.
Meyer did not want to miss the baptism, on September 29, he
asked his probation officer, Rob Humphrey, for permission to
attend. Humphrey denied the request because Meyer's
attendance would have resulted in contact with Mari. Despite
the official denial, Meyer and Mari formed a plan to
facilitate Meyer's presence at the baptism. On October 5,
Meyer submitted a recreational furlough application, asking
permission to walk to Buffalo Wild Wings and Walmart on
October 8. The approved furlough application permitted Meyer
to leave the facility at 12:30 p.m. and travel on foot to
Buffalo Wild Wings and Walmart. It required his return by
October 8, Meyer left the facility at 12:30 p.m. But he did
not walk to either approved location. Instead, Mari picked
him up by car a short distance from the facility. Meyer drove
them to Monmouth, Illinois, for the baptism, which was
scheduled to start at 1:15 p.m. The couple was running late,
so Meyer pushed their speed to at least thirty-five miles per
hour over the posted limit. An officer pulled them over and
arrested Meyer after discovering he had an outstanding
warrant for the crime of unlawful restraint in Henderson
County, Illinois. Meyer did not return to the Iowa facility
by 4:30 p.m. as required and instead remained in various
Illinois jails for several days.
result of Meyer's deviation from the terms of his
furlough, the State charged him with being absent from
custody in violation of Iowa Code section 719.4(3) (2017).
The matter proceeded to a jury trial, and Meyer stipulated he
had been committed to the Burlington Men's Residential
Correctional Facility, which was a community-based
correctional facility. The jury found Meyer guilty after
roughly twenty minutes of deliberation. Meyer now appeals his
Scope and Standards of Review
review challenges to the sufficiency of the evidence for
correction of errors at law." State v. Tipton,
897 N.W.2d 653, 692 (Iowa 2017). "We will uphold a
verdict if it is supported by substantial evidence."
Id. Evidence is "substantial if, when viewed in
the light most favorable to the State, it can convince a
rational jury that the defendant is guilty beyond a
reasonable doubt." State v. Sanford, 814 N.W.2d
611, 615 (Iowa 2012).
record is too scanty to resolve claims of ineffective
assistance, we preserve them for future postconviction-relief
proceedings. State v. Wills, 696 N.W.2d 20, 22 (Iowa
2005). But if the record is sufficient to resolve