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State v. Grant

Court of Appeals of Iowa

October 11, 2017

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
TODD ORRIN GRANT, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Jeanie K. Vaudt, Judge.

         A defendant appeals his conviction of theft in the second degree.

          Mark C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Bradley M. Bender, Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Louis S. Sloven, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

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

          VOGEL, Presiding Judge.

         Todd Grant appeals his conviction for second-degree theft, in violation of Iowa Code sections 714.1(4), 714.2(2) (2015), and the habitual offender sentencing enhancement imposed pursuant to section 902.8. He claims the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction, the verdict is against the weight of the evidence, [1] and the district court abused its discretion during sentencing.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings

         On November 29, 2015, Andre Carl and his family returned home from out-of-state Thanksgiving gatherings. When they arrived home, Carl noticed his vehicle was not in the driveway and the front door was unlocked. As he entered the home, the entire house appeared to have been ransacked. Carl immediately called the police and his insurance company.

         Detectives with the City of West Des Moines Police Department searched Robert Brooks's residence in relation to a separate investigation. Brooks consented to the search, and the detectives located a Green Bay Packers stock certificate belonging to Andre Carl. Brooks eventually stated he received the certificate from his step-nephew, Todd Grant, and the detectives notified the Des Moines Police Department. Once provided with Grant's current location, the detectives and the Des Moines police took Grant into custody in the parking lot of an apartment complex. Grant's girlfriend, Jennifer Lumley, approached and indicated she lived at the apartment. Lumley consented to a search of her apartment where a set of keys was located, one of which opened the padlock to Lumley's seldom-used hallway storage closet. To Lumley's surprise, the detectives found the storage closet packed full with approximately twenty bags, each containing many miscellaneous items.

         Carl was able to identify three or four bags exclusively containing his property, in addition to one piece of luggage. The bags contained various clothing items, some toiletries, and a few electronics.

         Grant was charged with theft in the second degree. The charge alleged "the theft of any property exceeding one thousand dollars but not exceeding ten thousand dollars in value." See Iowa Code § 714.2(2). The sentence was also enhanced due to Grant's status as a habitual offender pursuant to section 902.8. A jury found Grant guilty of second-degree theft. The court sentenced him to a term of fifteen years with a mandatory minimum of three years, imposed and then suspended "a $750 fine plus surcharge, "[2] and ordered the term of incarceration to run consecutively with Grant's probation-violation sentence. Grant appeals.

         II. Scope of Review

         We review claims of insufficient evidence for errors at law. State v. Rohm, 609 N.W.2d 504, 509 (Iowa 2000). We will "uphold a finding of guilt if 'substantial evidence' supports the verdict." Id. "'Substantial evidence' is evidence upon which a rational finder of fact could find a defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt." Id. "We generally review rulings on motions for new trial asserting a verdict is contrary to the ...


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