The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

April 23, 2014

Judge denies guilty plea withdrawal

Man was expecting suspended sentence

By Rachel Fredericksen Digital Content Editor
Clinton Herald

CLINTON — A Clinton County District Court judge has denied a man's attempt at withdrawing a guilty plea.

Eric R. Hook, 45, 900 S. 10th St., was sentenced last week to no more than five years in prison for willful injury causing bodily injury, a class D felony. He also was given a sentence of no more than two years in prison for domestic abuse assault, second offense, to be served concurrently.

Court records state that during the course of sentencing, when it became apparent Judge John Telleen was not suspending the sentence, Hook moved orally to withdraw his guilty plea.

In the written ruling, Telleen explained the reasons the motion was denied.

The plea agreement provided that the state would recommend the prison sentences be suspended, but stated the recommendation is not binding upon the court.

The plea agreement stated that acceptance of the plea agreement is a condition of the defendant's plea. An order entered March 13 provided that upon reviewing the pre-sentence report, should the court decide to reject the plea agreement, Hook would have an opportunity to withdraw the guilty plea.

The written ruling explained that the court did not reject the plea agreement; it was accepted as written. The open plea agreement provided that the state's recommendation for sentencing is not biding upon the court.

"The state both recommended a suspended sentence and stood by its agreement to allow the defendant to plead guilty to the lesser included offense of willful injury causing bodily injury as opposed to willful injury causing serious injury," the written ruling stated. "Further, the state agreed to dismiss count II (domestic abuse assault with intent to cause bodily injury)."

In addition to the prison sentence, Hook was fined $750 for willful injury and received a suspended fine of $625 for domestic abuse.

The charges stemmed from an incident Dec. 14. The affidavit states the victim told police that Hook got on top of her and "proceeded to punch her in the face approximately 20 or more times while yelling he was going to kill her."

The victim suffered bleeding and major swelling to her face, eyes, and nose.

Hook was located by police, who observed blood on his hands, shirt and jeans. He admitted to having an argument with the victim.