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State of Iowa v. Ronald Ray Curry

March 13, 2013

STATE OF IOWA, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
RONALD RAY CURRY, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, J. Hobart Darbyshire, Judge.

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

Defendant appeals his conviction for burglary in the third degree as a habitual offender. AFFIRMED.

Considered by Eisenhauer, C.J., Tabor, J., and Huitink, S.J.*fn1

I. Background Facts & Proceedings.

At about 3:00 a.m. on July 14, 2010, the silent alarm at Simonez Car Wash in Davenport, Iowa, went off. Police officers responded to the scene and found the glass in the front door of the carwash building had been broken. Inside the door, on top of the broken glass, was a car polisher and a CD case. Inside the manager's office and the detail manager's office, the drawers and cabinets had been opened up, and it looked like someone had been rifling through them. The officers found Ronald Curry under a grate in a trench that ran through the building to collect water and soap.

Curry was charged with burglary in the third degree, in violation of Iowa Code section 713.6A(1) (2009). The State also alleged Curry was a habitual offender. The State claimed he broke into the car wash with the specific intent to commit theft.

Curry filed a pro se motion to determine his ability to participate in the proceedings. He asserted he had been injured while at the Scott County Jail and it would be too painful for him to properly participate in the proceedings. After a hearing on September 15, 2010, at which Curry appeared by video conference, the district court entered a ruling that Curry would provide his defense counsel with a release for medical records in order to allow his attorney to assess whether a further hearing was needed.

On October 6, 2010, Curry filed a document stating he would not agree to allow defense counsel to examine the Scott County Jail medical records to determine the extent of his injuries. A hearing was held on October 13, 2010, which Curry did not attend. The district court ruled:

Defendant refused to participate in the hearing and chose to remain in the Scott County Jail. . . . The Court finds that based on a lack of evidence the Court will rule against the defendant's motion to have outside medical care and opinion in that regard concerning his participation since there is no evidence of his medical condition at this time.

Curry's jury trial commenced on October 25, 2010. That morning the court and counsel had a conference with Curry by telephone. Defense counsel told him, "I really, really want you being here." Curry stated it would be too painful for him to attend the trial. When asked if he was waiving his right to be present for the trial he responded, "I'm waiving. I'm waiving." Curry was advised of his right to testify at the trial, and he waived that right as well. Special accommodations were offered to Curry, such as the use of a wheelchair or crutches, but Curry declined and said, "Just go ahead and do it without me." The trial proceeded with Curry participating by telephone.

The jury found Curry guilty of third-degree burglary, and that he was a habitual offender. Curry participated in the sentencing hearing by telephone. The court sentenced him to a term of imprisonment not to exceed fifteen years. He now appeals his conviction.

II. Sufficiency of the Evidence.

Curry contends there is insufficient evidence in the record to show he committed third-degree burglary. In particular, he claims there is no evidence he had the intent to commit theft. He points out that nothing was taken from the carwash, and none of the business's property was found on his person.

We review claims challenging the sufficiency of evidence in a criminal case for the correction of errors at law. State v. Dalton, 674 N.W.2d 111, 116 (Iowa 2004). We will uphold the jury's verdict when it is supported by substantial evidence. State v. Hagedorn, 679 N.W.2d 666, 668 (Iowa 2004). "Evidence is substantial if it would convince a rational fact finder that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt." State v. Quinn, 691 N.W.2d 403, 407 (Iowa 2005). We view the evidence in the light most favorable to the State, "including legitimate ...


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