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State v. Martin

Court of Appeals of Iowa

September 13, 2017

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
TREVOR LEE MARTIN, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Webster County, Kurt J. Stoebe, Judge.

         A felon appeals his conviction for knowingly possessing a firearm. AFFIRMED.

          Charles J. Kenville of Kenville Law Firm, P.C., Fort Dodge, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Genevieve Reinkoester, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Tabor and McDonald, JJ.

          TABOR, JUDGE

         Residents of the Coleman District of Fort Dodge recalled Trevor Martin walking around their neighborhood "ranting and raving" and carrying a long gun. A jury later convicted him of knowingly possessing a firearm as a felon. On appeal, Martin argues his attorney was ineffective in not asking the district court to instruct the jury on the definition of "knowingly." Because that word did not carry a specialized legal connotation, counsel had no duty to ask for the uniform instruction defining "knowledge." Accordingly, we affirm.

         I. Facts and Prior Proceedings

         "Granny, there's a guy at the corner with a gun and two little kids." A sixty-six-year-old resident testified her teenaged granddaughter alerted her to the disturbance unfolding in their neighborhood around suppertime on August 28, 2016. The "guy" turned out to be Martin, who was carrying a Ruger semiautomatic .22 caliber rifle, loaded with two clips of ammunition. The grandmother testified:

At first, he was carrying [the long gun], sideways; and then he set it down on the ground. And there were two little girls with him. One of the little girls picked it up. And he said to that little girl, "You'll shoot my daddy in the face for me."

         Martin then took the gun back from the girl and continued walking around, repeatedly saying: "I'm going to shoot you in the face." The grandmother yelled at Martin to get out of her yard before another bystander grabbed the gun away from him. A short time later, police officers arrived and arrested Martin.

         The State charged Martin with being a felon in possession of a firearm, a class "D" felony, in violation of Iowa Code section 724.26 (2016).[1] A jury found him guilty in November 2016, and the court sentenced him to an indeterminate five-year prison term. Martin appeals, seeking a new trial.

         II. Ineffective Assistance of Counsel-Jury Instruction

         Martin argues he did not receive effective representation at trial because his attorney did not request the jury be instructed on the meaning of "knowingly" as that term appeared in the marshalling instruction for possession of a firearm by a felon. He ...


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