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State v. Jones

Court of Appeals of Iowa

December 5, 2013

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
DOUGLAS LEE JONES, Defendant-Appellant.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Lee (North) County, Mary Ann Brown, Judge. Douglas Jones appeals from his conviction and sentence for assault causing bodily injury.

Mark C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Rachel C. Regenold, Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Bridget A. Chambers, Assistant Attorney General, Michael P. Short, County Attorney, and Clinton R. Boddicker, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee.

Considered by Doyle, P.J., and Tabor and Bower, JJ.

DOYLE, P.J.

Douglas Jones appeals from his conviction and sentence for assault causing bodily injury. He contends the district court lacked the authority to order that he complete a batterer's education program as a part of his sentence, and therefore, that portion of his sentence is void. Additionally, he asserts his trial counsel was ineffective in (1) failing to object to the general-intent jury instruction the court submitted to the jury, and (2) eliciting evidence of Jones's nonviolent character, thus "opening the door" for admission of his past crimes that reflect poorly on his credibility. We affirm his conviction and sentence, and we preserve his second ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claim for possible postconviction relief proceedings.

I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

Following an incident between Douglas Jones and his girlfriend, Jones was charged with domestic abuse assault causing bodily injury, in violation of Iowa Code sections 708.1(1), 708.2A, and 236.2 (2011). The State later dropped the allegation of domestic abuse and reduced the charge to assault causing bodily injury, in violation of Iowa Code sections 708.1(1) and 708.2(2). A jury found Jones guilty of assault causing bodily injury.

Jones agreed to be sentenced immediately following the guilty verdict. After the State and Jones's counsel made sentencing recommendations to the court, the court noted Jones had a criminal history involving acts of resistance and aggression, indicating he had "some type of temper problem that [he was] not able to manage or control." The court explained it was not "sure jail or a fine, either one, " was a good way to address Jones's temper problem. In fashioning Jones's sentence, the court stated:

[Q]uite honestly, I think the most important thing I can do in this sentence is try to promote and encourage some mechanism to help you control your temper. So I think the first thing that I need to do in this sentence is require that you complete the Batterer's Education Program. There's no indication to me that that's happened in the past, and I am going to require that.
. . . .
Because of that, I'm going to impose a significant suspended jail sentence to encourage you to go to that Batterer's Education because your suspended jail sentence will be conditioned upon the fact that you successfully complete that Batterer's Education Program, and you need to know that if you don't go, you face a substantial amount of jail time. I think that's the most important thing we can do for everyone in this case is for you to get some help in managing that temper.
. . . .
. . . Your suspended jail sentence will be conditioned upon your prompt payment of the fine, surcharge and court costs, plus ...

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