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State of Iowa v. Michael Allen Jr

March 27, 2013

STATE OF IOWA, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
MICHAEL ALLEN JR., DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Robert A. Hutchison, Judge.

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

Michael Allen appeals his convictions on four counts of robbery in the first degree. AFFIRMED.

Considered by Eisenhauer, C.J., and Danilson and Bower, JJ.

Michael Allen appeals his convictions on four counts of robbery in the first degree with various assignments of error, including insufficiency of the evidence. Because sufficient evidence supports his convictions and we find no error, we affirm. Allen's claim that his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to file a motion to suppress is preserved for post-conviction relief proceedings.

I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

Allen was charged with four counts of robbery in the first degree, in violation of Iowa Code section 711.2 (2009), for his participation in a robbery of four individuals at gunpoint. Four victims and one detective were listed as witnesses on the complaint.*fn1 A trial information was subsequently filed, which charged four counts of robbery in the first degree with identical language. A jury found Allen guilty on all counts. The district court sentenced Allen to an indeterminate term of twenty-five years on each count, with counts I and II running consecutive to counts III and IV, for a total term of incarceration not to exceed fifty years.

On appeal, Allen advances the following assignments of error by the district court: (1) finding probable cause for arrest despite an unsigned complaint form, (2) failing to grant Allen's motion for directed verdict, (3) admitting the deposition of Kim Wiggins and finding her an unavailable witness, and (4) instructing the jury on four counts despite identical language setting forth each charge in the trial information. In addition, he asserts a claim of ineffective assistance of trial counsel.

II. Standard of Review.

We review challenges to the sufficiency of evidence for errors at law. State v. Sanford, 814 N.W.2d 611, 615 (Iowa 2012). We review the evidence in the light most favorable to the State, including all reasonable inferences that may be deduced from the record, to determine whether the finding of guilt is supported by substantial evidence. Id. Evidence is substantial if it would convince a rational fact-finder of the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Id. "In assessing the sufficiency of the evidence, we find circumstantial evidence equally as probative as direct." State v. Meyers, 799 N.W.2d 132, 138 (Iowa 2011).

III. Discussion.

A. Suppression.

Allen contends the unsigned complaint used to support his arrest warrant could not provide probable cause to support the arrest; thus, all evidence obtained following the arrest should have been suppressed. However, Allen concedes that trial counsel made no motion to suppress the evidence before trial nor did he object to the evidence when offered at trial.

Before an issue can be reviewed on appeal, it must be both raised and decided by the district court. Meier v. Senecaut, 641 N.W.2d 532, 537 (Iowa 2002). We conclude this issue was not preserved for our review. Allen alternatively contends that trial counsel was ineffective for failing to file such a motion. As we summarized in State v. Buchanan, 800 N.W.2d 743, 747-48 (Iowa Ct. App. 2011):

We conduct a de novo review of ineffective assistance of counsel claims. In order to prevail on his claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, Buchanan must show (1) counsel failed to perform an essential duty and (2) prejudice resulted. Failure to prove either element by a preponderance of the evidence is fatal to Buchanan's claim of ineffective assistance. If we determine the claim cannot be addressed on appeal, we must ...


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