from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Bradley
J. Harris, Judge.
defendant appeals his conviction for willful injury causing
serious injury, challenging an evidentiary ruling.
C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Shellie L. Knipfer,
Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Bridget A. Chambers,
Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Doyle and Tabor, JJ.
Garrison challenges his conviction, following a bench trial,
for willful injury causing serious injury, in violation of
Iowa Code section 708.4(1) (2015). On appeal, Garrison raises
one issue, contending the district court improperly allowed
the State to play thirty seconds of a witness's
videotaped interview with police under the hearsay exception
for recorded recollections. See Iowa R. Evid.
5.803(5). Because we find any error in publishing those brief
statements to the court to be harmless in the context of the
entire trial, we affirm Garrison's conviction.
Facts and Prior Proceedings
before 2:00 a.m. on December 10, 2015, Jacob Duhrkopf was
stabbed in the parking lot of an apartment complex near a
Perkins restaurant in Waterloo. Police arrested Garrison for
the crime, and on March 15, 2016, the case proceeded to
trial. The court heard testimony from Duhrkopf, as well as
two other witnesses, Ryan Butts and Heather Gerstenkorn. The
court also viewed surveillance footage of the incident and a
videotaped interview of Garrison during which he admitted
having an altercation with Duhrkopf but denied stabbing him.
Butts, and Gerstenkorn were generally consistent in their
descriptions of the events leading up to Duhrkopf's
injury. Duhrkopf was sitting in his car in the parking lot of
an apartment complex when he saw Butts, an acquaintance,
walking toward another vehicle. Duhrkopf called out to Butts,
which attracted the attention of the other vehicle's
passengers, Gerstenkorn and Garrison. Gerstenkorn approached
Duhrkopf's car, followed by Garrison, who started talking
to Duhrkopf. Butts eventually followed. The conversation
between Duhrkopf and Garrison became heated as Garrison
"kept bringing up" money Duhrkopf owed to Butts. In
response, Duhrkopf "jumped out of [his] car" and
pushed Garrison to the ground. Then, according to Duhrkopf,
Garrison stabbed him, wiped the knife blade on a pant leg,
and left with Gerstenkorn and Butts. Gerstenkorn and Butts
denied seeing Garrison stab Duhrkopf.
challenge on appeal arises out of Gerstenkorn's
testimony. At trial, Gerstenkorn expressed difficulty
remembering what happened in those early morning hours. She
explained she had been drinking and likely using other
illegal drugs. She also told the court she had a "bad
short-term memory" due to a car accident in her youth.
Gerstenkorn was able to provide a general account to the
court. She explained that she walked away from Duhrkopf's
vehicle before any physical confrontation occurred between
Garrison and Duhrkopf. She stated: "I think they said,
one of the two, either [Garrison or Butts], said
'You're not going to want to see this . . . so just
go get in the car.'" She remembered looking back as
she left the area but was unable to recall exactly what she
saw; "I can't remember clearly so maybe I thought
they were like going to fight, taking off his coat or
the prosecutor asked whether she saw any injuries or blood on
Duhrkopf, Gerstenkorn responded "I'm really not
sure. It was just so far across the parking lot. . . . I
probably couldn't see him that well." The prosecutor
then asked Gerstenkorn if she recalled watching a video
recording, just before testifying, of the interview she had
given to the police within hours of the incident. ...