from the Iowa District Court for Lee (South) County, Mark E.
appeals his conviction for harassment in the first degree.
Nieman, Rock Island, Illinois, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Timothy M. Hau, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Tabor and Bower, JJ.
Westwater appeals his conviction for harassment in the first
degree. We find Westwater failed to show he received
ineffective assistance because defense counsel permitted him
to plead guilty to a count where there was not a factual
basis, as there was a sufficient factual basis for the plea.
We affirm Westwater's conviction.
Background Facts & Proceedings
was charged with four counts of first-degree harassment based
on threats he made to Captain Kevin Church while in a holding
cell at the Keokuk Police Department. Westwater threatened to
physically harm Captain Church, his wife, daughter, and son.
filed a motion to dismiss, claiming he did not have personal
contact with Captain Church's wife, daughter, or son and
the charges involving threats against them should be
dismissed. The State resisted the motion to dismiss, claiming
Westwater threatened four people-Captain Church, his wife,
daughter, and son-while in personal contact with Captain
Church and this gave rise to the four charges. The district
court denied the motion to dismiss.
subsequently entered into a plea agreement, in which he would
plead guilty to one count of first-degree harassment and the
State would dismiss the three other charges. In a written
guilty plea, Westwater stated:
In order to provide a factual basis for the plea of guilty
the Defendant does admit that on or about the 1st day of May,
2018, in South Lee County, Iowa, I did purposely and without
legitimate purpose have personal contact with Kevin Church
with the intent to threaten, intimidate, or alarm Kevin
Church, and in doing so did threaten to commit a forcible
felony contrary to Iowa Code Sections 708.7(1) and 708.7(2)
of the Iowa Criminal Code.
district court accepted Westwater's guilty plea to
first-degree harassment, in violation of Iowa Code section
708.7(2) (2018), an aggravated misdemeanor.
orally informed the court he wanted to withdraw his guilty
plea. He obtained new counsel, and a formal motion in arrest
of judgment was filed. Westwater and his previous defense
counsel testified at a hearing on the motion. The issue of a
factual basis for the plea was not raised. The district court
denied the motion in arrest of judgment. Westwater was
sentenced to a term of imprisonment not to exceed two years,
to be served ...