State of Iowa v. Triston King Phillips

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IN THE COURT OF APPEALS OF IOWA No. 20-0002 Filed July 21, 2021 STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee, vs. TRISTON KING PHILLIPS, Defendant-Appellant. ________________________________________________________________ Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Hardin County, John J. Haney, Judge. Triston Phillips appeals his convictions of sexual abuse claiming there was insufficient evidence to convict him and his counsel provided ineffective assistance. AFFIRMED. Christopher A. Clausen of Clausen Law Office, Ames, for appellant. Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Thomas E. Bakke and Susan R. Krisko, Assistant Attorneys General, for appellee. Considered by Doyle, P.J., and Mullins and May, JJ. 2 DOYLE, Presiding Judge. Triston Phillips appeals his convictions of sexual abuse claiming there was insufficient evidence to convict him and that his counsel provided ineffective assistance. Phillips’s motion for judgment of acquittal did not preserve error for the argument he now raises on appeal. Furthermore, we cannot review Phillips’s ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claims on direct appeal. So we affirm his convictions and reserve his ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claims for a possible post-conviction relief trial. I. Facts and Procedural history. Phillips was accused of committing many acts of sexual abuse against two pre-teen girls. In October 2019, a jury found him guilty of two counts of second- degree sexual abuse, one count of third-degree sexual abuse, and one count of lascivious acts with a child. Phillips appealed after he was sentenced in December 2019. In this direct appeal, he argues (1) his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to object to the State’s mid-trial motion to amend the trial information correcting the timeframe associated with one of the counts, and (2) the verdicts were not supported by sufficient evidence. II. Ineffective Assistance of Counsel. Mid-trial, the prosecutor moved to amend the trial information to correct the timeframe associated with one of the counts. The court granted the motion. Phillips freely admits he did not preserve error because he made no objection. On direct appeal he asserts his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to object to the motion. Under Iowa Code section 814.7, this court cannot review Phillips’s ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claim. State v. Swift, 955 N.W.2d 876, 881 (Iowa 3 2021) (“Senate File 589 amended Iowa Code section 814.7 to disallow resolution of ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claims on direct appeal.”); accord State v. Mousty, No. 19-1588, 2021 WL 1399208, at *1 (Iowa Ct. App. Apr. 14, 2021); State v. Armsted, No. 19-1883, 2021 WL 1016575, at *4 n.4 (Iowa Ct. App. Mar. 17, 2021) (noting the defendant “was sentenced in November 2019; so section 814.7 applies”); State v. Montgomery, No. 19-1613, 2021 WL 596107, at *7 (Iowa Ct. App. Feb. 3, 2021) (“Disposition was not entered in [the defendant’s] case until September 2019. So Iowa Code section 814.7 (Supp. 2019), which took effect on July 1, 2019, controls.” (citations omitted)). Phillips may pursue his ineffective– assistance-of-counsel claims in a postconviction-relief action. See Iowa Code § 814.7 (Supp. 2019). III. Sufficiency of the Evidence Phillips argues the evidence presented at trial is insufficient to support the jury’s guilty verdict. The State submits …

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