from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Mark R.
defendant appeals his conviction of harassment in the first
D. Hallstoos, of the Halstoos Law Firm, Dubuque, for
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Richard J. Bennett,
Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.
P.J., and Potterfield and Mullins, JJ.
Howard appeals his conviction of harassment in the first
degree. He claims the court erred denying his motion for
judgment of acquittal because the evidence does not support
the elements of the crime. He also claims trial counsel was
ineffective for failing to file a motion for new trial. We
Background Facts and Proceedings.
17, 2016, Howard was charged by trial information with the
crime of harassment in the first degree, pursuant to Iowa
code section 708.7(2) (2016). The charges arose from an April
12 disruption at the Scott County Administration Building
where Howard allegedly threatened to kill a bailiff working
security. The defendant waived his right to a jury trial, and
the case was tried to the bench on August 29.
trial, Janet Dolan, the bailiff who was providing security
for the Scott County Administration building testified about
her encounter with Howard on April 12. She stated she heard
"a very loud disturbance" coming from the
treasurer's office. She described the disturbance as an
angry, male voice that was "cussing and swearing."
Upon her investigation, she discovered Howard standing in
line in a crowded room yelling, "These stupid fucking
white crackers. Pieces of shit can't get anything
right." She stated other people in the room appeared
upset and afraid.
testified she approached Howard and asked him to leave the
building. She stated the defendant responded by yelling
multiple times, "I'm a thirty-year-old man, you
white bitch. You can't tell me what to do."
Eventually, Howard left the building and Dolan followed him
to ensure he left the premises.
to Dolan, once she and Howard were outside the building,
Howard walked towards the sidewalk and stated, "[Y]ou
fucking white bitch. White cracker whore. I'm going to go
get a gun and come back and kill you." Dolan stated
Howard continued to complain and he walked over to the
railroad tracks, picked up a rock, and threw it at her.
also testified that people are often upset at the
administration building, and she is trained to escort people
out of the building as peacefully as possible. She stated
standard procedure is to ensure the individuals leave the
property without force.
close of the State's case, Howard moved for a judgment of
acquittal. The court denied Howard's motion, holding
"there is sufficient evidence that could convince a
rational trier of fact on ...