from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Jeffrey D.
defendant challenges his conviction.
L. Thompson, pro se, for appellant.
E. Alley of Oliver Gravett Law Firm, P.C., Windsor Heights,
for appellant (until withdrawal).
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Tyler J. Buller, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Vogel and Vaitheswaran, JJ.
Thompson appeals his conviction for child endangerment
resulting in bodily injury, in violation of Iowa Code section
726.6(6) (2015). Specifically, Thompson claims the district
court erred by not granting his motion for a judgment of
acquittal because there was insufficient evidence to support
the conviction. Thompson also asserts his counsel was
ineffective in failing to request a jury instruction that
defined "unreasonable force." Because we conclude
there was sufficient evidence to support the verdict, we
affirm Thompson's conviction. However, because the
factual record relevant to Thompson's claim of
ineffective assistance of counsel is not fully developed, we
preserve that claim for a postconviction action.
Background Facts and Proceedings
9, 2015, the State charged Thompson with one count of child
endangerment resulting in bodily injury. The charge stemmed
from an incident in which Thompson used a belt to strike his
thirteen-year-old daughter multiple times. At trial, the
victim testified she and her older sister were staying at
Thompson's house for a regularly-scheduled weekend
visitation on May 16, 2015. At some point, the victim and
Thompson had a disagreement, and in an apparent attempt to
discipline or control his daughter, Thompson entered her room
with a belt and struck her with it several times across the
legs. The victim's sister was sleeping in the room when
the incident occurred and testified that she woke up while
Thompson was striking the victim. According to the victim,
the belt strikes left visible red marks and bruises on the
her legs for several days. The district court denied
Thompson's motion for judgement of acquittal.
generally admitted the substance of the allegations. His
defense at trial was that his actions were appropriate
parental discipline under the circumstances and the force he
used was reasonable. He testified he initially brought the
belt into the room as a deterrent and he did not strike the
victim with full force. He continued:
Q. Okay. And so you said you were using the belt to try to
stop her from kicking you?
A. Well, I really-the thing is, she is stronger than what she
looks like. I really couldn't get it-I couldn't
really get in any good whacks. It was just-to me, I know my
strength, and my daughter is my daughter, so I'm not
going in with the intention of trying to kill my daughter.
And I ...