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State v. Young

Court of Appeals of Iowa

March 8, 2017

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
TYREE LEE YOUNG, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Jeanie Kunkle Vaudt, Judge.

         Tyree Young appeals his conviction and sentence for domestic abuse assault. AFFIRMED.

          Mark C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Robert P. Ranschau, Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Kevin Cmelik, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

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

          DOYLE, Judge.

         After he assaulted his wife, Tyree Young was charged with three counts of domestic abuse assault: count I, domestic abuse assault by knowingly impeding the normal breathing or circulation of blood causing bodily injury, in violation of Iowa Code section 708.2A(5) (2015); count II, domestic abuse assault by use or display of a dangerous weapon, in violation of section 708.2A(2)(c); and count III, domestic abuse assault causing bodily injury, in violation of section 708.2A(2)(b). Count II was dismissed, and a jury found Young guilty of the crimes alleged in counts I and III. He was sentenced to a term of imprisonment and ordered to pay a fine, restitution, and court costs. On appeal, he contends the district court erred in denying his motion for new trial, alleging the verdict concerning the domestic abuse assault by strangulation charge was not supported by the weight of the evidence. He also asserts the district court entered an illegal sentence in taxing court costs associated with the dismissed charge. We affirm.

         I. Background facts.

         Young suggested to his wife of three years that they have "a threesome." When she said she did not want to, Young became upset, and he commanded his wife to go to their bedroom. He started to take his belt off and asked his wife if she wanted it across the face or buttocks. She started crying and said, "Please don't do this, " but realizing she was going to get struck with the belt anyway, she chose the buttocks.

         Young told his wife to get naked and lay flat on the bed. She complied but kept on crying and telling Young, "Please don't do this." Young hit his wife twice on the buttocks with the belt, causing her pain and leaving red welts on her body. Young told his wife to get up off the bed and asked her how it felt. When she told him it hurt and stung a little, Young said, "That's it?" Then he told her to lie down because she was "getting two more" before striking her with the belt two more times.

         Young left the home for about a half hour. When he returned, Young and his wife had sex. The next day, Young's wife called the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence, an organization she used to work for. She was given the number for Children & Families of Iowa and was told to call the police. That afternoon she left work early and went to the courthouse because she "needed to get help." She requested and obtained a no-contact order, saying she "had enough" and "wanted to get [Young] out." The police were called, and an officer was sent to the courthouse.

         A City of Des Moines police officer interviewed Young's wife at the courthouse. She appeared to the officer to be distraught, nervous, and scared. He testified, "She gave me every indication that she was reluctant to be [at the courthouse] and something had happened to her." She told the officer she had been the victim of an assault where her husband had placed his hands around her throat causing squeezing that had made it difficult for her to breathe and left her coughing and gagging. She also told the officer about being struck by the belt. The officer observed marks on Young's wife's body that appeared to be consistent with the description of the assault. Photographs of the marks were taken by police identification technicians. The photographs depict red marks on Young's wife's back and a mark on the left side of her neck.

         At trial, Young's wife testified that Young had struck her with a belt but denied he had strangled her. She professed her love for her husband and testified the injury to her neck was a hickey Young gave her during their post-assault lovemaking. She admitted making the statements the police officer testified to. She claimed she lied to the officer because she "was mad." She testified that she wanted Young

to feel the pain that I felt that he made me feel that night. And I wanted-I wanted him to get the maximum punishment because he made me hurt. He made me feel so small. He made me feel like a dog. And ...

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