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State v. Crawley

Court of Appeals of Iowa

April 19, 2017

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
DARIUS A. CRAWLEY, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Bradley J. Harris, Judge.

         Darius Crawley appeals from his convictions for robbery in the first degree, burglary in the first degree, and being a felon in possession of a firearm. AFFIRMED.

          Mark C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Brenda J. Gohr, Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Sharon K. Hall, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Vogel and Vaitheswaran, JJ.

          DANILSON, Chief Judge.

         Darius Crawley appeals from his convictions for robbery in the first degree, burglary in the first degree, and being a felon in possession of a firearm, contending the court abused its discretion and violated Crawley's due process rights in denying his pro se motion to suppress filed the morning of trial. He also contends trial counsel was constitutionally ineffective in failing to file a motion to suppress the photographic lineup identifications of Crawley as one of the two perpetrators by both victims of the offenses. Finding no merit in Crawley's claims, we affirm.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         For a few days prior to the June 16, 2015 robbery, Lashun Brown said that her boyfriend and roommate, Montavis Keller, had slept with his handgun "[b]ecause we heard we was supposed to get robbed" by Antonio Gantt, whom both Brown and Keller knew. However, Brown asked Keller to move the gun to the dresser because she "didn't feel safe sleeping with it in the bed."

         After 3 a.m. on June 16, Brown and Keller were awakened by two men in their bedroom, one holding a shotgun wrapped with electrical tape and the other a knife. The intruders had covered the lower half of their faces. Brown tried to reach for her cellphone but it was taken by one of the robbers. The lights were turned on, and the man holding the shotgun repeatedly demanded to know "[w]here the shit at?" Brown described the man holding the gun as dark skinned, tall, and having a distinctive eye, "Like slanted or whatever. It is messed up." The taller man woke Keller by striking him several times on the head with the butt of the shotgun. The other intruder was searching through the drawers in the room. Brown described the second intruder as "heavyset, round . . . bald head and . . . lighter than" Brown. Keller eventually stated "everything was in the basement." The heavyset man then left the bedroom. Keller was bleeding and was allowed to wrap a shirt around his head. After some time, the taller intruder left the room. Keller and Brown were able to escape by climbing out their second-floor bedroom window and running to a nearby townhouse belonging to Miss-Sasha Nelson, Brown's friend and Keller's cousin.[1]

         Because neither Brown nor Keller had their phones, Nelson called police to report the robbery in progress. She relayed information from Brown to the 911 operator, including a description of the height and the eye of the one intruder. Nelson recalled that Brown "kept saying she recognized him, she was trying to remember his name, and she couldn't really think."

         Brown and Keller briefly spoke to officers before going to the hospital where Keller received multiple staples to treat his head wounds. They spoke to officers while at the hospital. Brown described one suspect to Police Officer Kenneth Schaaf as "approximately 6-4, had dreads[2] and had a slanted or sloped eye, " and stated "she knew who it was but couldn't think of the name."

          Brown and Keller went from the hospital to the police station where they were interviewed in separate rooms. Brown told the investigator, Officer David McFarland, "to look up Darius name or whatever, and he said that he couldn't do that right away. He talked to me about what happened first." Brown was then shown a photographic lineup. From a photo lineup of six similar looking men with locks, Brown picked out the third picture, which was a photo of Crawley. Brown was "100 percent sure it was him." Investigator Christopher Gergen showed Brown a second photo lineup that did not include Crawley-she did not identify anyone in that lineup.

         Keller "asked the police officer for Mack 10 and [an]other person's name, and they gave me mug shots." Keller was shown two photo lineups and he identified Crawley as one of the perpetrators from one lineup, and selected a person from the other photo lineup as the other intruder.

         Crawley was arrested and charged. He asserted an alibi defense. His girlfriend told officers Crawley was with her the night of the incident.

         Crawley was arraigned on July 9, 2015, which resulted in a pretrial-motion deadline of August 18. Crawley was appointed a new attorney on August 4, however. On August 14, Crawley's attorney filed motions seeking an investigator, depositions, and an extension of the discovery deadline. The court granted requests for an investigator and depositions. The record contains no specific ruling on the motion to extend deadlines.

         At the pretrial conference held on September 14, one week before trial, no other motions had been filed. Crawley stated at the pretrial conference he would "not waive his ninety-day rights" even though counsel expressed a desire to depose several officers and file a motion in limine.[3] The court agreed depositions could be taken if they could be completed before trial, which was scheduled for September 22. The court continued, Crawley could "move for a continuance . . . beyond the speedy trial" deadline or "proceed to trial without the depositions" given the untimely request.

         On September 21, the day before trial, Crawley filed pro se motions in limine and to suppress, challenging the victims' pretrial identifications of him as impermissibly suggestive or tainted.

         On September 22, prior to jury selection, the court advised Crawley that if he wanted a full hearing on his motion to suppress, it would allow the late filing of the motion to suppress but only if Crawley waived his right to a speedy trial. Following a brief recess, defense counsel stated Crawley "d[id] not want to waive speedy trial." Crawley complained he had not viewed the recorded or video evidence until four days before trial and depositions were taken just one week earlier. The court again indicated it was willing to give Crawley more time for discovery and have his motion to suppress heard, but that "he ...


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