State of Iowa v. Thanh Van Nguyen

IN THE COURT OF APPEALS OF IOWA No. 22-0474 Filed October 5, 2022 STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee, vs. THANH VAN NGUYEN, Defendant-Appellant. ________________________________________________________________ Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Stuart P. Werling, Judge. A defendant appeals the district court’s denial of his motion in arrest of judgment. AFFIRMED. Eric D. Puryear and Eric S. Mail of Puryear Law P.C., Davenport, for appellant. Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Thomas E. Bakke, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee. Considered by Ahlers, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ. 2 CHICCHELLY, Judge. Thanh Van Nguyen appeals the district court’s denial of his motion in arrest of judgment. He alleges his guilty plea was not entered knowingly and voluntarily because his written guilty plea was not translated into Vietnamese for him. Upon our review, we find no abuse of discretion and affirm the district court’s decision. On October 15, 2021, Nguyen entered a written guilty plea to two class “C” felonies and one class “D” felony. Thereafter, Nguyen hired new counsel and filed a motion in arrest of judgment on November 24. On February 9, 2022, the district court held an in-person hearing on Nguyen’s motion and sentencing. The court denied Nguyen’s motion in arrest of judgment and his subsequent request for a continuation of sentencing. Pursuant to the plea agreement, the court sentenced Nguyen to supervised probation and a suspended sentence. Nguyen filed a timely notice of appeal in the form of an application for permission to appeal under Iowa Code section 814.6(1)(a)(3) (2021) (granting right of appeal after a guilty plea where the defendant establishes good cause). Although Nguyen contends that his plea was not made knowingly and intelligently, our supreme court in State v. Tucker, 959 N.W.2d 140, 153 (Iowa 2021), expressly declined to “expand the concept of good cause and hold that a claim that a plea is not intelligently or voluntarily made constitutes good cause to appeal as a matter of right.” However, Tucker’s failure to file a motion in arrest of judgment presents a key distinction from Nguyen’s case. See Tucker, 959 N.W.2d at 154. For this reason, the proper vehicle for Nguyen’s challenge lies under Iowa Code section 814.6(2)(f), which permits discretionary review from an order denying a motion in arrest of judgment on grounds other than an ineffective-assistance-of- 3 counsel claim. See State v. Scott, No. 20-1453, 2022 WL 610570, at *3–5 (Iowa Ct. App. Mar. 2, 2022) (bypassing defendant’s good-cause argument to appeal from a guilty plea and granting discretionary review of an order denying his motion in arrest of judgment). Iowa Rule of Appellate Procedure 6.108 allows us to proceed as though Nguyen requested the proper form of review. Discretionary review is available when “the grounds set forth in any statute allowing discretionary review exist.” Iowa R. App. P. 6.106(2). Because Nguyen seeks review of an order denying a motion in arrest of judgment on grounds other than an ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claim, we find the grounds set forth in Iowa Code section 814.6(2)(f) …

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