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State v. Brandhorst

Court of Appeals of Iowa

September 27, 2017

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
ROBERT EARL BRANDHORST, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Floyd County, Peter B. Newell, District Associate Judge (motion to dismiss), and DeDra L. Schroeder (trial), Judge.

         A defendant appeals his conviction for driving while barred as a habitual offender. AFFIRMED.

          Andrew C. Abbott of Abbott Law Office, P.C., Waterloo, for appellant.

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

          Considered by Vogel, P.J. and Potterfield and Mullins, JJ.

          VOGEL, PRESIDING JUDGE.

         Robert Brandhorst appeals his conviction for driving while barred as a habitual offender, in violation of Iowa Code sections 321.560 and 321.561 (2015). He claims the district court erred when it failed to dismiss the matter for failure to prosecute within one year from the date of arraignment, the district court failed to inform him of his rights associated with stipulating to his status as a habitual offender, and there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction. We find no error in the district court's decision to deny dismissal for failure to prosecute within one year of Brandhorst's arraignment or in the district court's failure to inform Brandhorst of his rights associated with the stipulation that he is a habitual offender pursuant to Iowa Code section 321.555. We also reject Brandhorst's claims attacking the sufficiency of the evidence. Thus, we affirm his conviction.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings

         At approximately 3:30 a.m. on July 1, 2015, a deputy working with the Floyd County Sheriff's office was on patrol near the town of Midway. As he crossed a bridge, the deputy noticed three individuals-two were fishing and one was on a bicycle. The deputy approached the three individuals to inquire about their fishing licenses. As the deputy ran their information in his patrol car, a vehicle approached and pulled in behind the patrol car. Once the vehicle's headlights illuminated the patrol car the vehicle stopped, reversed, and took off in another direction.

         The deputy followed the vehicle's taillights or dust from the gravel road to the top of a nearby hill where the deputy lost sight of the vehicle. At the top of the hill, the deputy exited his vehicle and approached a farmhouse property on foot. He located a vehicle around the backside of the house where he found Brandhorst sitting in the driver's seat of a small, single-cab pickup truck. The deputy noticed several beer cans on the floor of the passenger side and asked Brandhorst why he tried to dodge the deputy and if he had permission to be on the property. Brandhorst indicated he "did not have a driver's license" and did not know the property owner. Brandhorst proceeded to explain another individual, "Dale, " drove Brandhorst onto the property and took off running before the deputy arrived.

         The deputy placed Brandhorst under arrest after running his driver's license and determining that Brandhorst's driving privileges were barred. The trial information charged Brandhorst with one count of driving while barred as a habitual offender. At trial, Brandhorst's defense was that Dale had been driving. A defense witness testified she was on the way to pick up one of the fishermen when a man appeared out of the ditch and ran in front of her vehicle into the other ditch. The jury convicted Brandhorst of driving while barred, and Brandhorst stipulated his driving privileges were barred as a habitual offender. Brandhorst appeals.

         II. Standard of Review

         "[T]he court's application of procedural rules governing speedy trial" is reviewed for correction of errors at law. State v. Miller, 637 N.W.2d 201, 204 (Iowa 2001). We apply an abuse-of-discretion standard. State v. Elder, 868 N.W.2d 448, 453 (Iowa Ct. App. 2015).

         "Sufficiency of evidence claims are reviewed for a correction of errors at law." State v. Sanford, 814 N.W.2d 611, 615 (Iowa 2012). The jury's verdict will not be disturbed if it is supported by substantial evidence. Id. "Evidence is considered substantial if, when viewed in the light most favorable to the State, it can convince a rational jury that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt." Id. As always, ...


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