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State of Iowa v. Clayton Eldon Land

January 9, 2013


Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Johnson County, Stephen Gerard, District Associate Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Bower, J.

Clayton Land appeals his conviction of operating while intoxicated. AFFIRMED.

Heard by Doyle, P.J., and Mullins and Bower, JJ.

Clayton Land appeals his conviction for operating while intoxicated, in violation of Iowa Code section 321J.2 (2011). Land contends the district court erred in failing to: (1) enforce discovery obligations of the State which prejudiced him prior to trial and (2) grant relief to him when the State failed to disclose exculpatory evidence to him in violation of his due process rights under state and federal law. Upon our review, we conclude Land has failed to prove his rights were violated. Accordingly, we affirm Land's conviction and sentence for operating while intoxicated.

I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

At approximately 12:15 a.m. on February 7, 2011,*fn1 Johnson County Deputy Sheriff Brad Kunkel and Patrol Deputy Chris Wisman were dispatched to Clayton Land's residence, on Blain Cemetery Road in Swisher, Iowa, for a domestic disturbance. The officers spoke with Land's wife, Sandra, for approximately fifteen minutes. Sandra informed the officers that Land had just left and had "probably gone to his parents' residence," located adjacent to Land's home.

The officers left to find Land in order to make contact with him and advise him to let the situation "diffuse" before returning home. In pursuit of Land, the officers returned to the highway, drove fifty to seventy-five yards, and turned onto Land's parents' driveway. There was snow on the ground, but the driveway was plowed. Approximately thirty yards down the driveway, the officer's encountered a vehicle partially in the snow-filled ditch along the side of the drive. The vehicle's rear was still on the drive, but the front appeared to be stuck in a snow bank. The officers noticed "the car was nosed into the snow at an angle, so the driver would not have been able to exit on the driver's side."

The officers observed an individual sitting in the front passenger seat of the vehicle. Deputy Wisman observed "footprints from the passenger side that went around the front of the car over to the driver's side and basically back." From the footprints, it appeared to Deputy Kunkel that "the occupant of the car had gotten out, walked around to kind of assess the situation he was in, looked at the house to see whether or not it was feasible to walk to the house, and then just gotten back in the car." The vehicle was not on, but Deputy Kunkel noticed the keys were in the ignition.

The officers identified the individual in the car as Clayton Land. The officers asked Land how he had arrived at his current location; Land stated he had driven there. Land showed signs of intoxication and emanated the odor of alcohol. His speech was "slurred," he was "disoriented," and his eyes were "glassy," "bloodshot, and watery." He had "a fixed gaze." Land admitted to drinking "seven beers" at his parents' house while watching the Super Bowl. Land had "long johns" and "a sweatshirt" on, but no shoes or socks. Deputy Kunkel noticed Land "had snow around the cuffs of his long johns." Land asked the officers to carry him out of the vehicle; the officers declined.

Because Land was not wearing shoes or socks and there was snow on the ground, the officers decided it would be unwise and unsafe to conduct field sobriety tests at the scene. Land was offered a preliminary breath test, which he declined. Based upon their interactions with Land, Land's "obvious" impairment, as well as his admissions to drinking seven beers and driving, the officers suspected Land was intoxicated.

At that time Deputy Kunkel's shift ended and he left the scene; Deputy Wisman continued the investigation. Deputy Wisman transported Land to the Department of Public Safety's DataMaster room for a more controlled environment to conduct field sobriety tests. Once there, Land declined the field sobriety tests. Land also refused a breath test. Land's behavior was described as "argumentative and taunting."

On March 16, 2011, the State filed a trial information charging Land with operating while intoxicated. Land filed a written arraignment and plea of not guilty on March 30. A jury trial was set for June 6.

Defense counsel received the police reports from the incident. On April 8, defense counsel sent a letter to the Johnson County Attorney's Office disputing the discovery expenses he had incurred for having received police reports for Land's case. The county attorney's office responded in a letter to defense counsel dated April 11, stating it would "no longer automatically provide discovery copies," and if defense counsel wanted to "review discovery materials" or "request photocopies," he needed to contact the county attorney's office to make an appointment.

On April 29, Land filed a motion to produce any relevant "statements" made by Land, any "audio or video records which may exist documenting this incident in any way," and "any other exculpatory or otherwise relevant evidence the State has or intends to acquire for use in this case." On May 12, Land filed a motion to suppress "all evidence obtained as a result of the unlawful search or seizure" of Land. That day the district court ...

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