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State v. Fehrer

Court of Appeals of Iowa

August 2, 2017

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
DARRIN FRANK FEHRER, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Jasper County, Terry R. Rickers, Judge.

         A defendant appeals his conviction asserting a jury instruction error, insufficient evidence, and a violation of his Fourth Amendment rights. AFFIRMED.

          Nicholas B. Dial of Dial Law Office, P.C., West Des Moines, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Bridget A. Chambers, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Considered by Tabor, P.J., Mullins, J., and Scott, S.J. [*]

          SCOTT, Senior Judge.

         Darren Fehrer appeals his convictions for possession of methamphetamine as an habitual offender, in violation of Iowa Code sections 124.401(5) and 902.8 (2015), and dissemination of obscene materials to a minor, in violation of Iowa Code section 728.2. He asserts the court incorrectly denied his request to include in the marshalling instruction for the dissemination charge a requirement that he knew the complaining witness was under the age of eighteen. He also asserts insufficient evidence supports that conviction. Finally, he claims the district court incorrectly denied in part his motion to suppress evidence seized from his house that he contends was outside the scope of a search warrant. For the reasons stated herein, we affirm his convictions.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         Fehrer first contacted the complaining witness, who lived in Minnesota, through a mobile social media chat application. Initially, both Fehrer and the complaining witness lied about their ages. Fehrer maintained he was nineteen, when he was actually fifty-one; the complaining witness initially told Fehrer she was eighteen, but within a few weeks, she truthfully informed him she was sixteen years old. The two communicated regularly, and the conversations, via social media and email, became romantic. By March 2015, Fehrer sent pictures of his erect penis and a video of him masturbating to the complaining witness. The complaining witness testified the pictures and video were sent to her by Fehrer after she told him she was sixteen.

         The complaining witness's mother became aware of the communication and reported the information to local police, who were able to determine Fehrer was the person seen in the photographs and video on the complaining witness's phone. The police obtained a search warrant for Fehrer's home, and during the execution of that warrant, police located a glass methamphetamine pipe and a clear plastic bag containing residue of what was later determined to be methamphetamine.

         The State charged Fehrer with possession of methamphetamine as an habitual offender and dissemination of obscene materials to a minor. Fehrer filed a motion to suppress the drug evidence, asserting the search warrant was an invalid general warrant, but the court denied his motion in part. Fehrer was convicted as charged following a jury trial. Fehrer was sentenced to prison for fifteen years on the possession charge and one year on the dissemination charge, to be served consecutively. He now appeals.

         II. Scope and Standard of Review.

         Our review of Fehrer's challenge to the court's failure to give his requested jury instruction is for the correction of errors at law. See Alcala v. Marriott Int'l, Inc., 880 N.W.2d 699, 707 (Iowa 2016). Similarly, we review a defendant's challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence supporting a conviction for the correction of errors at law. State v. Howse, 875 N.W.2d 684, 688 (Iowa 2016). However, we review de novo a challenge to the district court's denial of a motion to suppress based on a constitutional violation. State v. Brown, 890 N.W.2d 315, 321 (Iowa 2017).

         III. ...


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