Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Robert A. Hutchison, Judge.
Appeal from a conviction of fraudulent practice.
Mark C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Patricia Reynolds, Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.
Brajendra Das, Des Moines, pro se.
Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Benjamin Parrott, Assistant Attorney General, John P. Sarcone, County Attorney, and Jaki Livingston, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee.
Considered by Eisenhauer, C.J., and Potterfield and Tabor, JJ.
Brajendra Das appeals from his conviction of fraudulent practices in the second degree, contending the trial court erred in refusing a requested jury instruction on reasonable doubt and his trial attorney was ineffective in not objecting to the marshaling instruction to the jury. We affirm.
Das was charged with fraudulent practice in the second degree, in violation of Iowa Code sections 96.16(1); 714.8(3), (10); and 714.10 (2011), for obtaining unemployment benefits illegally based on false statements on his unemployment reports. Over a period of several months, he reported lower wages than his employer reported, resulting in overpayment of benefits in excess of $2000.
Das requested an alternate jury instruction on reasonable doubt containing this paragraph:
A "reasonable doubt" is such a doubt as fairly and naturally arises in your mind and by reason of which you cannot say that you have a full and abiding conviction of the guilt of the defendant; and if, after considering all of the circumstances as disclosed by the evidence, you find your mind wavering or vacillating, then you have a reasonable doubt, and the defendant is entitled to the benefit of such doubt and you must acquit him. A reasonable doubt may arise from the evidence in the case or it may arise from a lack or failure of evidence produced by the State, and it must be such a doubt as would cause a reasonable, prudent and considerate person to pause and hesitate before acting in the graver and more important affairs of life. But you should not ignore credible evidence to hunt for doubt, and you should not entertain such doubt as is purely imaginary or fanciful or based on groundless conjecture. If, after a careful and impartial consideration of all the evidence in the case, you have a full and abiding conviction of the guilt of the defendant, then you are satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt, otherwise you are not satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt.
The court denied the request and provided the jury this instruction on reasonable doubt:
A reasonable doubt is one that fairly and naturally arises from the evidence or lack of evidence produced by the State.
If, after a full and fair consideration of all the evidence, you are firmly convinced of the defendant's guilt, then you have no reasonable doubt ...