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State v. Bentley

Court of Appeals of Iowa

May 3, 2017

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
KIERRA BENTLEY, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Joseph M. Moothart, District Associate Judge.

         Kierra Bentley appeals following her convictions for disorderly conduct, interference with official acts, and assault on a peace officer.

          Michael H. Johnson of Johnson Law Firm, Spirit Lake, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Linda J. Hines, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Considered by Mullins, P.J., and Bower and McDonald, JJ.

          BOWER, Judge.

         Kierra Bentley appeals following her convictions for disorderly conduct, interference with official acts, and assault on a peace officer. Bentley claims the district court improperly allowed the State to introduce a video recording of her post-arrest behavior into evidence and improperly denied her motion for new trial. We hold the video recording was properly allowed into evidence and the district court did not abuse its discretion by refusing to grant a new trial. We affirm the district court.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings

         On January 27, 2015, Bentley drove to West High School in Waterloo to pick up her brother. She found him and his cousin fighting with a group who were not students. A group of more than twenty people had gathered with some involved in the fight, some attempting to stop the fight, and some watching. An off-duty Waterloo police officer, Kyle Jurgensen, drove by West High School, noticed the fight, called 911 to request help, and ran to stop the fight.

         As he arrived at the scene, Jurgensen saw Bentley spit on a man attempting to break up the fight. Jurgensen testified he showed her his badge, identified himself as a police officer, and directed her to leave the crowd as she was under arrest. Bentley did not respond to his direction, cursed at him, and attempted to leave the scene. Jurgensen "took control of her" and moved her out of the crowd and toward the curb.

         Jurgensen forced Bentley into a sitting position once they were outside the perimeter of the group. He testified he stood over her, keeping her down and holding his badge. At some point, Jurgensen was distracted, and Bentley was able to get up and began walking away. Jurgensen again attempted to restrain her, and Bentley kicked him twice. Other officers arrived on the scene, and Bentley was arrested. Bentley maintains she did not hear Jurgensen identify himself and was not aware he was a police officer.

         Shortly before the case was scheduled for trial, the prosecution notified Bentley a video recording had been located that had not previously been included in discovery. Trial was continued for a short period of time to allow the prosecution to amend the minutes of evidence and for Bentley to review the recording. After some confusion, Bentley and her trial counsel were able to see the video. In the recording, Bentley uses profanity and derogatory language while deriding the Waterloo Police Department. Over Bentley's objections, the recording was admitted into evidence.

         On December 8, 2015, the case proceeded to trial. On December 10, Bentley was found guilty on all three charges. Bentley filed a motion for new trial and in arrest of judgment, which were denied. She was sentenced February 26, 2016, and filed a notice of appeal March 8. On May 13, the Iowa Supreme Court granted Bentley's application for discretionary review of her simple misdemeanor convictions and consolidated the appeals under the current case number.

         II. ...


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