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In re D.J.

Court of Appeal of Iowa

September 5, 2013

IN THE INTEREST OF D.J., Minor Child, D.J., Minor Child, Appellant.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Cheryl Traum, District Associate Judge.

D.J. appeals from an adjudication of delinquency for assault while displaying a weapon.

Joel A. Walker, Davenport, for appellant.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Bruce Kempkes, Assistant Attorney General, Michael Walton, County Attorney, and Will R. Ripley, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee.

Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Vaitheswaran and Bower, JJ.

BOWER, J.

D.J. was adjudicated delinquent for assault while displaying a weapon[1]. On appeal, D.J. argues the State failed to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and the court erred in rejecting a claim of self-defense. After a review of the record, we affirm.

I. Background Facts and Proceedings

On October 26, 2012, a delinquency petition alleging a single count of assault while displaying a weapon was filed against D.J. During the adjudicatory hearing the State called two witnesses. The first witness was J.B., the alleged victim. J.B. testified that while walking in the hall at school a confrontation occurred with D.J. During the confrontation, witnessed by a number of students, J.B. alleged D.J. pulled a knife, held it close to J.B.'s neck, and threatened to stab J.B. Eventually bystanders separated the two.

The State also called Officer Sharif (Sharif) of the Davenport Police Department, who had viewed a cell phone video of the incident taken by another student. Sharif testified D.J. and J.B. were in a crowd of people and appeared to be arguing, when D.J. took out a knife and held it in the face of J.B. Though he admitted the video did not capture the beginning of the incident, Sharif testified J.B. did not appear to be acting in an aggressive manner.

D.J.'s mother was called as a defense witness and testified there was bad blood between the two families. D.J. also testified and claimed to have been a prior victim of an assault by members of J.B.'s family. D.J. further claimed J.B. began the confrontation and, because J.B. was accompanied by several friends, D.J. feared another assault would occur. Finally, D.J. admitted to pulling the knife, but, in self-defense.

II. Standard of Review

We review juvenile delinquency proceedings de novo. State v. Tesch, 704 ...


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