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State of Iowa v. Kenny Lee Williams

January 24, 2013

STATE OF IOWA, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
KENNY LEE WILLIAMS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, James D. Coil, District Associate Judge.

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

Defendant appeals his conviction for leaving the scene of a personal injury accident. AFFIRMED.

Considered by Eisenhauer, C.J., and Vogel and Vaitheswaran, JJ.

Kenny L. Williams appeals from his conviction for leaving the scene of a personal injury accident. He claims his attorney was ineffective in her representation because her motion for judgment of acquittal did not alert the court to a specific complaint regarding the sufficiency of the evidence. We affirm.

We review the claim de novo. Ennenga v. State, 812 N.W.2d 696, 701 (Iowa 2012).

After a confrontation with Suzanna Omstead in the parking lot of the apartment building occupied by Williams and Omstead, Williams ran over Omstead's foot with his car. Omstead testified she banged on his car and yelled, "Stop. You hit me." Williams made a gesture and drove off. Williams testified and admitted to being present and to driving away while Omstead was talking to him. However, he testified he was not listening to her, and he denied running over her foot.

The jury was instructed:

To commit a crime a person must intend to do an act which is against the law. While it is not necessary that a person knows the act is against the law, it is necessary that the person was aware he was doing the act and he did it voluntarily, not by mistake or accident. You may, but are not required to, conclude a person intends the natural results of his acts.

The jury returned a verdict of guilty. On appeal, Williams concedes we "can accept the general arc of Omstead's testimony . . . she was outside in the parking lot attempting to confront Williams, that he was the driver of the white Mustang, and that the rear tire went over her foot." Williams argues he was prejudiced by his trial counsel's failure to argue the evidence was not sufficient to establish he knowingly or intentionally drove away from the scene of an accident.

To prevail, Williams must prove by a preponderance of the evidence his trial attorney failed to perform an essential duty and this failure resulted in prejudice. State v. Straw, 709 N.W.2d 128, 133 (Iowa 2006). "Because proof of both prongs of this test is required, should [Williams] fail to prove prejudice we need not consider whether his trial counsel failed to perform an essential duty." State v. Tejeda, 677 N.W.2d 744, 754 (Iowa 2004). Generally, ineffective-assistance claims are resolved by post-conviction proceedings to enable a complete record to be developed. State v. Truesdell, 679 N.W.2d 611, 616 (Iowa 2004). Sometimes, the appellate record is adequate to resolve the issue on direct appeal. Id. We believe the record is adequate to resolve the issue.

At the close of the State's evidence, Williams's attorney made what she referred to as a motion to dismiss, stating:

I don't think there is enough evidence to go in front of a jury. We have a woman who-the jury has to be deaf, dumb, and blind to find anything credible in what she said. But besides that, she contradicted herself so many times, that we're cherry picking.

In the light most favorable . . . to the State, she may or may not have had a shoe on. She says she was barefoot. The police officer testifies that she had a sock and a shoe on. I asked her about the tire tread, ...


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