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State v. Johnson

Court of Appeal of Iowa

July 10, 2013

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
MARQUISE JIMMY JOHNSON, Defendant-Appellant.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, George L. Stigler, Judge.

Marquise Johnson appeals his conviction for assault causing serious injury as a habitual offender.

Mark C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and David Arthur Adams and Patricia Reynolds, Assistant Appellate Defenders, for appellant.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, John B. McCormally, Assistant Attorney General, Thomas J. Ferguson, County Attorney, and James Katcher, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee.

Considered by Doyle, P.J., and Danilson and Mullins, JJ.

DOYLE, P.J.

Marquise Johnson appeals his conviction for assault causing serious injury as a habitual offender, in violation of Iowa Code sections 708.2(4) and 902.8 (2011). Johnson contends his trial counsel was ineffective in several respects regarding his assertion of self-defense. He also claims the district court erred in overruling his Batson challenge to the State's strike of a proposed juror. We affirm.

I. Background Facts and Proceedings

From the evidence introduced at trial, the jury could have found the following. In the early morning hours of March 23, 2012, Marquise Johnson stabbed Markus Harding. Prior to the stabbing, Johnson and Harding spent the day drinking and "kicking it" in Waterloo. By the time they went to the Edo's Club at around 9:00 or 10:00 p.m., they were "already drunk." They continued drinking at the club.

When the club closed at 2:00 a.m., Johnson and Harding went to the house Harding shared with his fiancé, Jericka Simmons. Jalisa Simmons, Jericka's sister and Johnson's girlfriend, was also at the house. An argument broke out.[1] Johnson and Harding began wrestling and "talking crazy to each other." The fight ended when Harding realized he had been stabbed by Johnson.

Johnson ran away from the apartment holding a small knife in his hand. Jalisa, Harding, and Jericka ran outside after Johnson. Harding "fell to the ground" and "passed out." He was taken by ambulance to the hospital where doctors realized his injury was life-threatening. Harding repeatedly stated "Blue" stabbed him.[2] Harding had two stab wounds: a minor wound near his ribs, and a more serious wound in the lower quadrant of his abdomen, which had pierced his abdominal wall. Harding underwent surgery to repair his injuries and spent nine or ten days in the hospital.

While he was in the hospital, Harding assisted police officers with an effort to record his phone conversation with Johnson. During the conversation, Harding repeatedly stated Johnson had "poked" him. According to the officer listening to the phone call, Johnson did not deny he had "poked" Harding. Johnson testified he denied stabbing Harding and stated Harding got himself stabbed unintentionally while Johnson attempted to wrestle the knife away from him.

On April 26, 2012, the State filed a trial information charging Johnson with willful injury as a habitual offender. On May 10, 2012, Johnson entered a plea of not guilty. On July 13, 2012, new counsel was appointed to represent Johnson following the removal of Johnson's first attorney due to a conflict of interest. At the pretrial conference on July 20, 2012, Johnson's counsel informed the court, "[Johnson] and I are both prepared to go to trial and he will not be waiving speedy trial."

Trial commenced as scheduled on July 24, 2012. During jury selection, Johnson's counsel first raised the issue of self-defense, and the State objected to the admission of testimony from Jalisa Simmons that Johnson acted in self-defense. Counsel indicated he intended to call Jalisa as a witness but was "not sure what she's going to testify to" because he had only been on the case for one week, and he would "be happy to file" a notice of self-defense. The State objected to the defense offering evidence of self-defense from any witness other than Johnson. The district court informed the parties the notice was "way outside ...


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