from the Iowa District Court for Dubuque County, Robert J.
Richter, District Associate Judge.
Scholtes Sr. appeals his convictions following a jury trial
in which he was found guilty of felony eluding and leaving
the scene of a personal injury accident.
R. Purcell of Clemens, Walters, Conlon, Runde & Hiatt,
L.L.P., Dubuque, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Louis S. Sloven, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Tabor and Mullins, JJ.
VAITHESWARAN, Presiding Judge.
took a Dubuque County Sheriffs deputy on a chase through a
residential area and golf course, eventually launching into
the air and nose diving to the ground. The State charged Mark
Scholtes Sr. with several crimes. A jury found him guilty of
(1) eluding while exceeding the speed limit by twenty-five
miles per hour or more resulting in a bodily injury as well
as the lesser-included offense of eluding while exceeding the
speed limit by twenty-five miles per hour or more and (2)
leaving the scene of an accident resulting in injury.
See Iowa Code §§ 321.261(1)-(2);
321.279(2), (3)(c) (2016). The court entered judgment on the
"eluding with bodily injury" verdict in the first
count and on the second count. Scholtes appealed.
contends (1) the jury rendered two inconsistent verdicts on
the first count, leading to a lack of clarity as to which
verdict was intended and requiring reversal of the district
court's ruling on his motion in arrest of judgment as to
the first count and (2) the State failed to present "any
credible evidence" that he was the driver of the van,
requiring reversal of the district court's ruling on his
motion for a new trial as to both counts.
Inconsistent Verdicts - Eluding
jury was instructed to "sign only one verdict for each
count." In the same instruction, the jury was advised of
the possibility of being "polled" after the verdict
was read. See Iowa R. Crim. P. 2.22(5) (stating a
party may "require a poll asking each juror if it is the
juror's verdict" and, unless "any juror
expresses disagreement . . . the verdict is complete and the
jury shall be discharged"). After the jury returned two
verdicts on the eluding count, Scholtes' attorney did not
conduct a poll to determine which verdict was intended.
However, he raised the inconsistent verdicts issue in his
motion in arrest of judgment and motion for new trial. The
district court denied the motions.
State contends Scholtes was obligated to poll the jury to
preserve error on his inconsistent verdicts claim. The
State's argument is facially appealing, given rule
2.22(5)'s reference to a "complete" verdict
absent juror disagreement. See also Gavin v.
Johnson, No. 08-1994, 2009 WL 4114144, at *6 (Iowa Ct.
App. Nov. 25, 2009) (noting that the plaintiff "made no
request" to have the jury "receive additional
instruction and return to deliberate" before "the
jury was discharged"); Neumann v. Serv. Parts
Headquarters, 572 N.W.2d 175, 176 n.1 (Iowa Ct. App.
1997) (suggesting the plaintiff should have made her
objections to inconsistent verdicts before the jury was
discharged but stating, "Defendant has not contended by
agreeing to a sealed verdict plaintiff did not preserve error
and we do not address this issue"). But neither the
rule's express language nor caselaw mandates a jury poll
to preserve error on a claim of inconsistent verdicts. To the
contrary, the procedure used by Scholtes appears to suffice
as an error-preservation tool. Cf. Cowan v.
Flannery, 461 N.W.2d 155, 157, 160 (Iowa 1990)
(observing that "[t]he trial court should not discharge
the jury until it determines the special verdict is
consistent and supported by evidence, " but noting the
claimed inconsistency was raised in motion for new trial or
conditional trial); Brooks v. State, No. 16-0710,
2017 WL 2461504, at *6 n.3 (Iowa Ct. App. June 7, 2017)
(rejecting error preservation concern on challenge to
consistency of verdicts where parties agreed to a sealed
verdict). Accordingly, we proceed to the merits.
State v. Halstead,791 N.W.2d 805 (Iowa 2010),
Scholtes asserts the jury rendered "inconsistent
compound verdicts." Inconsistent verdicts may stem from
a broad array of circumstances. See Halstead, 791
N.W.2d at 807. In Halstead, the court addressed
"a single defendant who is convicted of a compound crime
and acquitted of the predicate crime in a single
proceeding." Id. at 808. In ...