from the Iowa District Court for Boone County, Steven J.
Cory appeals his conviction, following a guilty plea, of
possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver and the
sentence imposed. AFFIRMED.
E. Fenton of Law Offices of Joel E. Fenton, PLC, West Des
Moines, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Darrell Mullins, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Potterfield and
Cory was charged by trial information with a host of
crimes. The parties reached a plea agreement,
under which Cory would plead guilty to first-offense
possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver in
return for the State's dismissal of the remaining
charges. Under the terms of the plea agreement, the parties
were free to argue what mandatory minimum term of
imprisonment should be imposed at the time of sentencing.
See Iowa Code §§ 124.413, 901.10(2),
.11(1), .12(1) (2017).
plea hearing was held in December 2017. At the hearing, Cory
acknowledged his voluntary decision to plead guilty, his
understanding of the proceedings, the nature of the charge,
and the rights he was waiving by pleading guilty. The court
advised him of the maximum and minimum punishments, and Cory
acknowledged his understanding of the same. Cory then
tendered his guilty plea, admitting he knowingly possessed
more than five grams of methamphetamine with the specific
intent to deliver it to another individual. He also
stipulated to the accuracy of the minutes of evidence-which
provided an abundance of information supporting a factual
basis-and his agreement that the court could consider them in
establishing a factual basis to support the plea. The court
accepted the plea, set the matter for sentencing, and ordered
the preparation of a presentence investigation (PSI) report.
Cory was advised of his obligation to file a motion in arrest
of judgment to challenge his plea for any reason.
his interview with the PSI preparer, Cory advised: "I
was not intending to deliver to anyone but myself. But I had
to tell the judge that I intended to deliver to an individual
or he wouldn't have accepted my plea." At the
subsequent sentencing hearing, the court questioned Cory
about his statement. Cory responded, "I did not intend
to deliver it to an individual, no." Even though the
time had passed to file a motion in arrest of judgment,
court then advised Cory if he wanted to challenge his plea,
he would need to file a motion in arrest of judgment. Cory
declined the opportunity, declined to withdraw his plea, and
insisted on proceeding to sentencing. Although Cory had
previously agreed at the plea hearing the court could rely on
the minutes of evidence in accepting his plea, which the
court had done, the court confirmed with Cory it could
continue to rely on the minutes of evidence to support a
factual basis. Cory responded in the affirmative. Defense
counsel then questioned Cory whether he was making any
allegation that defense counsel told him he had to tell the
judge he intended to deliver to another individual. Cory
responded in the negative.
court proceeded to sentencing. During his statement of
allocution, Cory explained he understood "the validity
of this crime and that [he] would be found guilty if [he]
went to trial." Pursuant to Iowa Code section
124.413(3), the court reduced the one-third mandatory minimum
term of incarceration by one-half. The court declined to
further reduce the mandatory minimum under section 901.10(2)
"for those reasons articulated just moments ago,"
which included Cory's significant criminal history, the
need for his rehabilitation and protection of the community,
and his high risk for reoffending. The court also surveyed a
number of Cory's personal circumstances.
now appeals his conviction and sentence. He argues his
attorney was ineffective for failing to counsel him regarding
an Alford plea and failing to challenge the plea based
on Cory's statement that he did not intend to deliver
methamphetamine and resulting factual basis issues or to
further explore the statement at the time of sentencing. He
also argues the court erred in not engaging in a more
"searching inquiry" regarding the statement.
Lastly, he argues the sentencing court failed to adequately
state its reasoning for declining to reduce his mandatory
ineffective-assistance claims, Cory must establish by a
preponderance of the evidence that (1) his counsel failed to
perform an essential duty and (2) prejudice resulted.
State v. Trane, 934 N.W.2d 447, 465 (Iowa 2019).
Upon our de novo review, State v. Haas, 930 N.W.2d
699, 703 (Iowa 2019), we observe the minutes of evidence
provided a bounty of information establishing a factual basis
for the crime. We find counsel was under no duty to pursue an
Alford plea or challenge the plea on factual-basis
grounds. As to prejudice, a defendant must demonstrate
"a reasonable probability that, but for counsel's
[alleged] errors, he or she would not have pleaded guilty and
would have insisted on going to trial." State v.
Petty, 925 N.W.2d 190, 196 (Iowa 2019) (quoting
State v. Straw, 709 N.W.2d 128, 138 (Iowa 2006)).
All of Cory's ineffective-assistance claims stem from his
statement to the PSI preparer. The court and defense counsel
explored the statement with Cory at the time of sentencing
and advised him of his ability to attempt to withdraw it; he
insisted on proceeding with sentencing. This defeats any
reasonable probability Cory would have insisted on going to
next argues the court had an obligation to engage in a more
"searching inquiry." We find the court engaged in
an adequate inquiry of Cory regarding his statement; because
the time for filing a motion in arrest of judgment had
already expired, the court's inquiry went further than
required, and gave Cory every benefit of the doubt. In any
event, Cory cites no authority to support his complaint. We
deem the argument waived. Iowa R. App. P. 6.903(2)(g)(3). We
affirm Cory's guilty-plea conviction of possession of
methamphetamine with intent to deliver.
Cory argues the court failed to state its reasoning for
declining to reduce his mandatory minimum sentence pursuant
to section 902.10(2). We find the court's terse and
succinct statement regarding its sentencing decision is
sufficient to show its reasons for its discretionary