CLEAR LAKE – An apparently violent Forest City man who beat a Clear Lake woman in 2016 but was released from jail on appeal has lost that appeal and faces new crimes in Dubuque.
Steven Sifuentes, age 42 and formerly of Forest City, pleaded guilty to domestic abuse assault, burglary in the third degree, and domestic abuse assault as a third or subsequent offense for a crime he committed against a woman in Clear Lake on April 23, 2016.
Sifuentes sought on appeal to vacate his convictions. Sifuentes contended that his guilty pleas were not knowing and voluntary in a variety of ways and for a variety of reasons and that his plea counsel provided constitutionally ineffective assistance in allowing Sifuentes to plead guilty under the circumstances.
However, the Iowa Court of Appeals ruled this week that Sifuentes’ direct challenge to his guilty plea is barred, and therefore affirmed his convictions and preserve his challenges to his guilty pleas for postconviction-relief proceedings.
Despite his guilty plea and subsequent 10-year total prison sentence, court records show that Sifuentes was released from jail right after the plea deal was struck in July of 2016. He posted $5,000 cash appeal bond and was set upon the streets.
Sifuentes apparently made his way to the city of Dubuque, Iowa, and by December of 2016 was causing serious problems according to charges brought by the police in that community. He is currently held in the Dubuque county jail on a rash of new charges including invasion of privacy, stalking, extortion, and numerous no-contact violations, culminating in felony charges. In March he entered a not-guilty plea and awaits a May trial.