Leusink seeks conviction reversal or new trial

Thursday, September 1, 2022
(Sentinel File Photo) Aaron Leusink, former Plymouth County deputy, who was sentenced in June to 40 years in prison on a string of burglaries has filed a post conviction relief asking for either a conviction reversal or new trial. Leusink claims his attorney was ineffective.

PLYMOUTH CO. — A former deputy for the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office, who was sentenced to 40 years in prison on June 10 for his involvement in a string of burglaries in the county has filed a petition for Post-Conviction Relief in the Iowa District Court for Plymouth County.

Aaron Leusink, of Le Mars, was sentenced on charges of stealing prescription drugs from the sheriff’s office, pharmacies and private residences within the county.

He pleaded guilty to the 11 counts against him on April 12, 2022.

The petition, filed Aug. 24, states Leusink received ineffective assistance of counsel in his trial proceedings.

“Based on the ineffective assistance of counsel, there is a reasonable probability that, but for the counsel’s unprofessional errors, the result of the proceeding would have been different. The probability of a different result is sufficient to undermine confidence in Mr. Leusink’s conviction. The different result would have been a refusal to plead guilty, an acquittal at trial or a different plea agreement,” the petition states.

The petition further states, “Specifically, counsel was ineffective, and unfair prejudice resulted, when trial counsel:

• misinformed Leusink that his sentence would be reconsidered and he was eligible for a reconsideration or a ‘shock’ sentence based upon the charges to which he pled guilty and otherwise failed to make a motion in arrest of judgment to withdraw the guilty pleas;

• misinforming him about the definition of a ‘shock’ sentence and its application to the charges to which he pled guilty and otherwise failed to make a motion in arrest of judgment to withdraw the guilty pleas;

• failed to assure there was a factual basis for every count;

• advised Leusink that pleading guilty without a plea agreement in place was a sound strategy;

• failed to ensure that Leusink’s plea was knowing, intelligent, and voluntary;

• failed to pursue an entrapment by estoppel defense and motion to dismiss on that basis; and

• failed to move to dismiss based on the fact that Burglary in the First Degree based upon the facts alleged.”

In filing the Post-Conviction Relief petition, Leusink seeks reversal of his convictions, expungement of the convictions from his criminal record, order for a new trial, a new sentencing hearing and any other relief as may be just and appropriate in these circumstances.

On April 12, the day the bench trial was scheduled to begin, an hour passed before Luesink entered the courtroom and it was announced there was a plea agreement worked out between Assistant Iowa Attorney General Monty Platz, the state’s representative in the case, and Justin Vondrak, attorney for Leusink.

At that time, District Court Judge Roger Sailer told Leusink that by agreeing to plead guilty, his options for appeal were limited.

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