from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Mark D. Cleve
(motion for competency evaluation and plea) and Henry W.
Latham II (motion in arrest of judgment), Judges.
Draine appeals his conviction for willful injury causing
serious injury. AFFIRMED.
C. Smith, State Appellate Defender (until withdrawal), and
Melinda J. Nye, Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Tyler J. Buller, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Doyle, P.J., Mullins, J., and Blane, S.J.
Draine appeals his conviction, following a guilty plea, of
willful injury causing serious injury, in violation of Iowa
Code section 708.4(1) (2018). He argues the district court
erred in denying his motion for competency testing. He also
asserts the court abused its discretion in denying his motion
in arrest of judgment.
Background Facts and Proceedings
record reveals the following. In 2018, Draine was charged
with willful injury causing serious injury following an
altercation with a staff member at the Wittenmeyer Youth
Center. He was sixteen at the time of the offense. Draine
suffers from oppositional defiance disorder (ODD) and
attention deficit hyper activity disorder (ADHD). He is of
below average intelligence, was held back one year in school,
and has received special-education services. He previously
underwent a cognitive evaluation at University of Iowa
Hospitals, and his "general intellectual abilities were
estimated to be in the extremely low range . . . with
difficulties observed across verbal and nonverbal
moved for a reverse waiver to transfer jurisdiction of this
proceeding to the juvenile court, claiming services in the
juvenile system would be beneficial to his rehabilitation.
The district court held an evidentiary hearing on the issue,
and Draine presented his mental-health, school, and medical
records in support of his motion. The court denied the motion
and retained the proceeding; it cited Draine's extensive
juvenile criminal history and past failed rehabilitative
attempts in the juvenile system.
one month after the court denied Draine's reverse-waiver
motion, defense counsel became concerned with Draine's
ability to assist with his own defense due to his ODD, ADHD,
and low cognitive functioning. Counsel moved the district
court to order Draine's competency be assessed. Counsel
cited Draine's ODD, ADHD, low cognitive functioning,
difficulty concentrating, erratic behavior, difficulty
remembering counsel, and an instance when Draine began to
threaten counsel following a meeting to support his motion.
The court denied the motion, concluding "on the record
presented [Draine] has not sustained by a probable cause
standard any allegations that he suffers from one or more
mental disorders which prevent him from appreciating the
charge, understanding the proceedings, or assisting in his
own defense," and Draine did not undergo any competency
then agreed to plead guilty as charged. At the plea hearing,
Draine's responses to the court's inquiries were
generally appropriate. There were two instances during the
plea colloquy when Draine's responses did not comport
with the posed question. When the court inquired if Draine
believed his actions were justified, Draine asked what
justified meant and defense counsel clarified the word's
meaning to Draine. Counsel asked Draine: "Did you have
any right to do that to [the victim]?" Draine responded:
"Yeah." After an off-the-record discussion between
Draine and his counsel, Draine was questioned if he was
justified in his actions and he responded in the negative.
When asked if he agreed with the minutes of evidence, Draine
responded in the affirmative. However, counsel clarified they
previously discussed the minutes of evidence at length and
Draine actually disagreed with a portion of the minutes that
stated he struck the victim with a radio and insisted he only
struck the victim with his fist. Following the colloquy, the
court accepted Draine's plea.
to sentencing, Draine filed a motion in arrest of judgment,
alleging "he did not understand that he was entering a
guilty plea" at the plea hearing. The court held a
hearing on the matter. Draine testified he did not know what
he was signing when he signed the plea agreement, did not
understand the questions posed during the plea colloquy, and
did not want to plead guilty to the charge. The court found
Draine's plea to be knowing and voluntary, ...