from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Andrea J.
appeals the trial court's ruling admitting testimony
related to the defendant's alleged prior bad act of
Jessica A. Millage of Millage Law Firm, P.C., Des Moines, for
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Timothy M. Hau, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Danilson, C.J., Potterfield, J., and Blane,
Rose appeals the district court's decision to admit
testimony related to an alleged prior act of domestic abuse.
Because the testimony is relevant to the intent element of
the crime and the defendant's defenses, the prior act is
supported by clear proof, and the prejudicial effect does not
substantially outweigh the probative value, we affirm.
Background Facts and Proceedings.
Rose and Amanda Guzzle resided together and were involved in
a romantic relationship. Rose and Guzzle knew a mutual
acquaintance, Sarah Medina. On July 6, 2015, Rose and Guzzle
were alone at Medina's residence in the living room when
they began to argue. The argument then turned physical, and
according to Guzzle's testimony, she ended up on the
couch with Rose on top of her. Guzzle covered her face
because she did not want Rose to hit her, and she
subsequently "felt [her] ribs crack." Even after
Guzzle felt the blow to her ribs, Rose remained on top of
her, and she struggled to breathe. Guzzle did not alert
authorities or seek medical attention. The pain in her chest
and shortness of breath continued for at least the next
following day, Rose called 911 and claimed Guzzle assaulted
him. Authorities were sent to the location, but Rose had left
by the time they arrived. Guzzle was still at the scene.
Guzzle told police she was suffering from pain and shortness
of breath. She was then taken to the hospital where medical
personnel confirmed Guzzle had five broken ribs and a
punctured lung. She eventually told the police that Rose
caused the injuries.
16, 2015, the State charged Rose by trial information with
one count of assault causing serious injury and one count of
domestic abuse assault causing injury, pursuant to Iowa Code
sections 708.2(4) and 708.2A(3)(b)(2015), respectively. The
State and Rose filed motions in limine to exclude certain
evidence. The State sought to exclude, in part, evidence
related to Guzzle's methamphetamine use. The
defendant's motion in limine was centered on testimony
related to an alleged prior domestic assault of Guzzle by
Rose. Guzzle claimed that a few days before she was struck in
the ribs, Rose approached her and punched her in the face at
her friend's house. She also stated Rose "kicked all
my stuff all over, broke my sunglasses, stomped on them, then
made me sit down and wait for him." Guzzle stated she
did not call the police after the incident.
court held a hearing on the matter, and the State made an
offer of proof of Guzzle's testimony about the event. The
court ruled testimony related to the alleged assault was
admissible. The court determined the testimony elicited in
the offer of proof was sufficient to establish clear proof of
the incident because it was "fairly clear and specific,
" and the evidence is "relevant to how the
relationship between the parties affects their
credibility." The court went on to exclude testimony
about more general accusations of prior domestic abuse
because "[t]here was not clear evidence offered."
trial, Rose generally denied the charges. He claimed another
individual caused Guzzle's injuries during a fight
between Rose and the other person. In the alternative, he
suggested Guzzle's erratic behavior as a methamphetamine
user caused the injuries. He also attacked the credibility of
Guzzle's testimony, arguing her statements were
jury found Rose guilty of assault causing bodily injury-a
lesser-included offense of count one-and count two, domestic