Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Woodbury County, Michael S. Walsh, Judge.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mullins, J.
A defendant appeals arguing insufficient evidence supports his conviction and the district court abused its discretion in refusing to provide a jury instruction. AFFIRMED.
Considered by Doyle, P.J., and Danilson and Mullins, JJ.
Bradley Gregg appeals from his conviction for utilizing a person under the age of eighteen to traffic a controlled substance, in violation of Iowa Code section 124.406A (2011). Gregg alleges there was insufficient evidence to prove one of the two alternative theories the jury could have used to convict him, namely that he "recruited" a minor to traffic a controlled substance. Gregg also contends the district court abused its discretion by not incorporating specific definitions of "agreement" in its instruction for conspiracy. We find sufficient evidence supports Gregg's conviction, and the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Gregg's requested instruction. Accordingly, we affirm.
I. BACKGROUND FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS
A jury could have found the following facts. Sometime in June or July 2011, Jeremy Shortenhaus purchased marijuana from Gregg, a family friend. Shortenhaus told Gregg he could make him "quite a bit of money" by selling marijuana. Around that time Shortenhaus had moved in with Gregg after Shortenhaus's father kicked him out of the house. When Shortenhaus suggested selling marijuana for Gregg a second time, Gregg told him to "call some people up" and "get things rolling." Shortenhaus testified that he sold marijuana that Gregg provided and gave Gregg the money.
Shortenhaus was arrested for selling marijuana on July 8, 2011. He was seventeen years old at the time. He agreed to testify against Gregg as part of his plea agreement. Officers executed a search warrant on Gregg's apartment and discovered marijuana and related paraphernalia in various rooms and common areas, including Gregg's bedroom and Shortenhaus's bedroom.
The State charged Gregg with distribution of a controlled substance to a person under eighteen years of age; utilizing a person under the age of eighteen to traffic a controlled substance; possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance-marijuana; a drug tax stamp violation; and carrying a concealed weapon. The State also amended the trial information to add the enhancement for distribution of a controlled substance within 1000 feet of a school. The case proceeded to trial, and the jury found Gregg guilty of utilizing a person under the age of eighteen to deliver marijuana and guilty of the lesser included offense of possession of marijuana on each of the remaining three counts, which were merged at sentencing.*fn1 On the conviction for using a person under the age of eighteen to traffic a controlled substance, Gregg received a ten-year suspended sentence, four years of probation, and a $1000 fine. Gregg now appeals only his conviction for using a person under eighteen years of age to traffic a controlled substance.
II. SCOPE AND STANDARD OF REVIEW
Our review of challenges to the sufficiency of the evidence is for the correction of errors at law. State v. Sanford, 814 N.W.2d 611, 615 (Iowa 2012). We consider all the evidence in the light most favorable to the State including all reasonable inferences. Id. The jury's verdict will be upheld if it is supported by substantial evidence, which is evidence that can convince a rational jury that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Id.
A district court's failure to give a jury instruction is reviewed "for an abuse of discretion." In re Det. of Palmer, 691 N.W.2d 413, 416 (Iowa 2005). "Error in giving or refusing jury instructions does not merit reversal unless it results in prejudice . . . ." State v. Kellogg, 542 N.W.2d 514, 516 (Iowa 1996). "The requirement that a jury instruction error result in prejudice before a conviction will be reversed mirrors the harmless-error analysis this court undertakes for any alleged error in a criminal trial." State v. Hanes, 790 N.W.2d 545, 550 (Iowa 2010). Where an error in the jury instructions is not of constitutional dimension, the reviewing court asks whether "it sufficiently appear[s] that the rights of the complaining party have been injuriously affected by the error or that he has suffered a miscarriage of justice." Id.
A. Sufficiency of the Evidence
This case was submitted to the jury with alternate theories. The jury could find Gregg either "conspired with" or "recruited" a person under the age of eighteen for the purpose of delivering or manufacturing a controlled ...