from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Mitchell E.
defendant appeals her drug conviction after entering a guilty
C. Meyer, Cedar Rapids, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Thomas E. Bakke, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Mullins and May, JJ.
Leahy appeals her guilty plea to possession of
methamphetamine in violation of Iowa Code section 124.401(5)
(2018), an aggravated misdemeanor. Leahy alleges her legal
representation fell below constitutional norms. Because the
record is insufficient to decide Leahy's claim of
ineffective assistance of counsel, we preserve it for a
possible postconviction-relief action.
Linn County Attorney charged Leahy with (1) possession of
methamphetamine after having been convicted of drug offenses
twice before, (2) possession of drug paraphernalia, and (3)
providing false identification. The charges came after police
responded to a disturbance in a motel parking lot in August
2018. Officers arrested Leahy after she gave a false name.
During a search incident to arrest, officers found a drug
pipe and digital scale with residue in Leahy's purse.
Officers also found a syringe containing a substance that
field-tested positive for methamphetamine.
September 2018, Leahy signed a written guilty plea to the
lesser-included offense of possession of a controlled
substance. The State agreed to dismiss the two other charges.
Leahy also filed a written waiver of her presence for the
guilty plea and sentencing, a waiver of the right to file a
motion in arrest of judgment, a waiver of the right to delay
sentencing, and a request for immediate sentencing. The
district court accepted Leahy's plea for possession of a
controlled substance and her written waivers.
appeal, Leahy complains her attorney let her enter the
written guilty plea without advising her of its effect on
other cases for which she was on parole. Leahy contends
section 908.10A requires automatic parole revocation
effective on the date of her new offense and she was unaware
of that consequence. Because she did not have that awareness,
Leahy claims she did not enter the guilty plea intelligently
and voluntarily. Leahy contends that she is entitled to have
the plea set aside and to plead anew.
review claims of ineffective assistance of counsel de novo.
State v. Brubaker, 805 N.W.2d 164, 171 (Iowa 2011).
To succeed, Leahy must show by a preponderance of the
evidence that (1) trial counsel failed to perform an
essential duty, and (2) this failure resulted in prejudice.
See State v. Thorndike, 860 N.W.2d 316, 320 (Iowa
2015). Because Leahy alleges ineffective assistance in
connection with her guilty plea, she must show but for
counsel's breach a reasonable probability existed she
would have insisted on going to trial. See State v.
Tate, 710 N.W.2d 237, 240 (Iowa 2006).
appeal was pending on July 1, 2019; so we may reach
Leahy's ineffective assistance claim on direct appeal if
the record is adequate. See State v. Macke, ___
N.W.2d ___, ___, 2019 WL 4382985, at *1 (Iowa 2019)
("Iowa Code sections 814.6 and 814.7, as amended, do not
apply to a direct appeal from a judgment and sentence entered
before July 1, 2019."); State v. Straw, 709
N.W.2d 128, 133 (Iowa 2006). Only in rare cases will the
trial record alone be sufficient. State v. Atley,
564 N.W.2d 817, 833 (Iowa 1997) (explaining
ineffective-assistance claims raised on direct appeal are
ordinarily reserved for postconviction proceedings to allow
full elaboration of the facts surrounding counsel's
the record here is not developed enough to resolve
Leahy's claim of confusion about the consequences of
entering the guilty plea, we preserve the matter for a
potential postconviction-relief proceeding. See State v.
Johnson, 784 N.W.2d 192, 198 (Iowa 2010); see also
State v. Harris, 919 N.W.2d 753, 754 (Iowa 2018)
("If the development of the ineffective-assistance claim
in the appellate brief was insufficient to allow ...