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State of Iowa v. Jason Wayne Robison

April 10, 2013

STATE OF IOWA, PLAINTIFF, APPELLEE,
v.
JASON WAYNE ROBISON, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Cerro Gordo County, Chris Foy, Judge.

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

Jason Robison appeals his conviction for theft in the third degree. AFFIRMED.

Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Tabor and Mullins, JJ.

Jason Robison appeals his conviction for theft in the third degree, alleging insufficient evidence. Because the minutes of testimony and accompanying affidavits describe video footage of Robison as the only individual entering and exiting the business at the time of the theft, we find ample circumstantial evidence to affirm the district court's determination he committed the crime.

I. Background Facts and Proceedings

The minutes of testimony and accompanying affidavits establish the following facts. Lori Smith owns Lori's Creative Images, a beauty salon located in Willowbrook Mall in Mason City. On the morning of September 13, 2011, she walked a patron out of her salon and returned with her next customer, Bob Cameron. As they approached her business, Cameron said, "That guy just came out of your shop," referring to an approaching individual later identified as Robison. Robison asked Smith if she took walk-ins for haircuts. When Smith said no, Robison left the mall. Smith returned to her store to find her cash register drawer ajar. The register was missing $305 in checks and $250 in cash.

On September 20, 2011, the State filed a trial information charging Robison with one count of burglary in the third degree, in violation of Iowa Code sections 713.1 and 713.6A(1) (2011), and enhanced by section 902.8 and 902.9; and one count of third-degree theft, in violation of sections 714.1(1), 714.2(3), and 714.3.

Robison's first trial ended in a mistrial on November 30, 2011. During the jury selection process at Robison's retrial, he waived his right to a jury. The parties agreed a bench trial would commence based on the minutes of testimony, a police officer's affidavit and attached incident report, and Smith's statement. On March 28, 2012, the district court found Robison not guilty of third-degree burglary but guilty of third-degree theft. The court sentenced him to incarceration not to exceed two years and a $625 fine. Robison appeals.

II. Scope and Standard of Review

We review a claim that insufficient evidence supports a conviction for errors at law. State v. Dewitt, 811 N.W.2d 460, 467 (Iowa 2012). We view the record in the light most favorable to the State to determine whether the conviction is supported by substantial evidence. State v. Meyers, 799 N.W.2d 132, 138 (Iowa 2011). Substantial evidence is that which would convince a rational fact-finder of the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Dewitt, 811 N.W.2d at 467. If the record contains substantial evidence, the district court's findings are binding. Id.

The State holds the burden to prove each fact necessary to constitute the crime charged, "and the evidence presented must raise a fair inference of guilt and do more than create speculation, suspicion, or conjecture." State v. Brubaker, 805 N.W.2d 164, 171 (Iowa 2011) (internal quotation marks omitted).

III. Analysis

In its written ruling, the district court decided the State proved the following elements of ...


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