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State v. Williams

Court of Appeals of Iowa

January 11, 2017

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
LAMONT MONTEE WILLIAMS, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Story County, Timothy J. Finn, Judge.

         The defendant appeals his convictions, alleging ineffective assistance of counsel, and his sentences, alleging the district court abused its discretion. AFFIRMED.

          Mark C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Theresa R. Wilson, Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Darrel Mullins, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

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

          POTTERFIELD, Presiding Judge.

         Lamont Williams appeals his convictions and sentences for second-degree burglary, simple assault, assault causing bodily injury, and child endangerment. He alleges his trial counsel was constitutionally ineffective for failing to object to testimony and other evidence derived from his cell phone records. Additionally, he contends the trial court abused its discretion by ordering the maximum fines on each charge and imposing consecutive prison sentences. After careful review, we affirm.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         Williams and the complaining witness had a two-year romantic relationship, which resulted in a child. All three resided in the complaining witness's home. However, just prior to the incident, Williams and the complaining witness broke up. Williams moved out of the home but left some of his personal effects at her home. The complaining witness eventually took Williams some of his belongings; however, several of his items remained at the home, including some legal documents, his identification, his electronic benefits transfer card, and various photos.

         Although no longer romantically involved, Williams and the complaining witness kept in communication with each other via text messages and phone calls. The complaining witness indicated she no longer wished to pursue a romantic relationship with Williams despite his repeated sexual advances. Williams contends the two continued a sexual relationship.

         Between March and April 2015, Williams and the complaining witness exchanged text messages, described as "just arguing back and forth." The arguing apparently peaked on April 13 when the complaining witness told Williams she did not want him anywhere near their child.

         That evening, the complaining witness and a friend stayed at the complaining witness's residence, where they smoked marijuana "to relax." Once the friend left, the complaining witness said she took two anti-anxiety and one antidepressant pills before going to sleep. The complaining witness testified she awakened sometime between 11:30 p.m. and 1:00 a.m. when Williams put his penis into her mouth. She further stated he proceeded to have sex with her without her consent while the child was present in the room; Williams denied the two had sex. Following this, the complaining witness testified Williams asked her for a ride back to Ames, to which she agreed because she wanted him out of her home.

         The complaining witness testified that although Williams still had personal belongings in her home, he was not welcome to enter without her permission. Williams testified he went to her home in order to retrieve his belongings. He knew the front door did not lock properly and that he could open it.

         On the way to Ames with the child in the backseat of her car, the complaining witness and Williams began arguing. The complaining witness contended the argument began when Williams inquired into whether she was seeing other men and bringing them around the child, to which she admitted she was. According to her, Williams became enraged and struck her three or four times in the face with a backhanded, closed fist. She testified she then slammed on the vehicle's brakes in the middle of Highway 30. Williams testified, however, she stopped the vehicle because she dropped a marijuana cigarette when she became angry Williams was sending text messages to his new girlfriend. Thereafter, the complaining witness exited the vehicle and attempted to call 911; however, she testified Williams stopped her from doing so.

         After some time, the complaining witness reentered the vehicle and resumed driving Williams to Ames. At that point, a male friend of the complaining witness called her phone, which upset Williams. Williams then hit her in the face two or three more times. Again, she tried calling 911, but Williams apparently took her phone from her. At this point, the complaining witness testified she again stopped the vehicle to attempt to call 911 for a third time. She then testified she hung up the phone because Williams told her he hid marijuana in her car. Williams denied hitting the complaining witness or stating that he hid drugs in her car but said she hung up the phone because her car smelled of marijuana.

         The Iowa Department of Transportation had video from traffic cameras showing a vehicle stopped in the middle of Highway 30 at approximately 1:12 a.m. Also, Ames police did receive a "hang up" call from the complaining witness's phone at 1:25 a.m. but had no ...

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