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State v. Underwood

Court of Appeal of Iowa

October 23, 2013

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
JAMISON LEE UNDERWOOD, Defendant-Appellant.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Pocahontas County, Joel E. Swanson, Judge.

Jamison Lee Underwood appeals his conviction for lascivious conduct with a minor.

Mark C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Vidhya K. Reddy and Melinda J. Nye, Assistant Appellate Defenders, for appellant.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Darrel L. Mullins, Assistant Attorney General, and Ann E. Beneke, County Attorney, for appellee.

Heard by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Potterfield and Danilson, JJ.

DANILSON, J.

Jamison Lee Underwood appeals his conviction for lascivious conduct with a minor, a serious misdemeanor, in violation of Iowa Code section 709.14 (2011), arguing the evidence was not sufficient to establish that he was "in a position of authority over" the victim, which is necessary to support his conviction. Under the circumstances presented, the jury could reasonably conclude the defendant was in a position of authority over the fifteen-year-old complaining witness. We therefore affirm.

I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the conviction, the record shows that during April 2011, fifteen-year-old M.A. lived with her mother, stepfather, and eight siblings. Twenty-five-year-old Underwood was M.A.'s stepfather's friend and coworker. For the three weeks leading up to April 29, 2011, Underwood had slept at M.A.'s home, provided financial assistance to the family, [1] talked to one of M.A.'s brother's ("M") at the behest of the mother, and had given M.A. money.

On Friday evening, April 29, Underwood took M.A.'s sister ("K") prom shopping in Fort Dodge. Underwood and K returned to M.A.'s home at roughly 11:00 p.m. Underwood, K, and M.A. began drinking alcoholic beverages. At one point, Underwood and one of M.A.'s brothers went to a convenience store for more beer and hard lemonade. Underwood showed M.A. where the vodka was and she started taking "shots."

After K went to bed at about 11:30, Underwood wanted to go to his house in Pocahontas, Iowa. He carried M.A. to his truck. As they drove, they played "stop signs and bridges, " removing articles of clothing each time they stopped at a stop sign or crossed a bridge. Underwood, now only in his boxer shorts, told M.A. she was "sexy." When she denied it, he "grabbed [her] hand and put it on his penis and said if you weren't sexy, why would I be hard."

By the time they reached Pocahontas, M.A. was dressed only in her sports bra, shorts, and underwear. She got out of the truck, went into the house, and fell asleep on the bed in a bedroom on the main floor. She woke up to Underwood "climbing on top of" her. She told Underwood to stop, saying he was "my dad's best friend." M.A. would later testify Underwood inserted his fingers into her vagina; carried her to the bathroom where he placed her in the bathtub with warm water and unsuccessfully attempted vaginal intercourse; carried her downstairs to his bedroom in the basement; kissed her vagina with his mouth; and had vaginal intercourse with her. After the intercourse ended, M.A. got dressed then went out and slept in the truck.

Later, Underwood drove with her to a nearby convenience store, telling her to "act sober" because the store was "cop central." The convenience store clerk recalled Underwood and M.A—Underwood bought cigarettes and pop, then asked if M.A. wanted anything. When she retrieved a bottle of water, the clerk heard Underwood "talking with her about . . . losing too much weight" and "the family had concerns."

M.A. testified Underwood then drove back to M.A.'s house, arriving about 3:00 a.m. M.A.'s mother was up and asked where they had been. M.A. said Underwood was hungry so they went to Kum & Go. M.A. kissed ...


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