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State v. Carey

Court of Appeals of Iowa

March 12, 2014

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
DONTRAYIUS EUGENE CAREY, Defendant-Appellant

Editorial Note:

This decision is published in table format in the North Western Reporter.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Andrea J. Dryer, Judge. The defendant appeals his conviction of assault causing serious injury.

Mark C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Nan Jennisch, Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Tyler Buller, Assistant Attorney General, Anthony Garcia, Student Legal Intern, Thomas J. Ferguson, County Attorney, and Brook Jacobsen, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee.

Considered by Danilson, C.J., Mullins, J., and Miller, S.J.[*]

OPINION

MILLER, S.J.

Dontrayius Carey appeals his conviction of assault causing serious injury, in violation of Iowa Code sections 708.1 and 708.2(4) (2011). He contends the district court erred in two respects: (1) in failing to instruct the jury on spoliation and (2) in denying his motion for new trial based upon prosecutorial misconduct. After concluding both claims are without merit, we affirm.

I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

In the early morning hours of April 7, 2011, Shane Mehmen was punched in the face at a Waterloo sports bar and suffered serious injuries. Because the incident was captured on surveillance video, there is no dispute that Carey delivered the blow to Mehmen. On this basis, the State charged Carey with assault causing serious injury, a class " D" felony.[1]

A jury trial was held in May 2012. Officer Kyle Law testified that he obtained the surveillance equipment from the sports bar and had approximately ten minutes of the video footage of the incident copied before returning the equipment to the sports bar's owner on April 17, 2011. This video, depicting what occurred for approximately three minutes before the assault and approximately seven minutes after, was played for the jury. Mehmen testified that he was intoxicated on the night in question and had a confrontation with someone when he arrived at the bar around midnight.

Mehmen recalled that he bumped into another person and said something that " probably wasn't nice." At that point, a bouncer asked Mehmen to leave the bar. Mehmen was allowed to re-enter the bar minutes later in order to apologize to the other patron. Mehmen recalled delivering the apology, socializing with friends on the dance floor, and then waking up in the hospital. Other witnesses testified similarly.

Carey testified in his own defense. He stated that he was repeatedly confronted by Mehmen and his companions that night, and that Mehmen was challenging him. Carey testified that during their last encounter, Mehmen pushed on his left shoulder. When Carey turned around, he saw a hand and reacted by punching Mehmen to defend himself.

During closing arguments, Carey's trial counsel discussed the lack of context for the assault, arguing Carey acted in ...


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