from the Iowa District Court for Woodbury County, Duane E.
appeals his convictions for eluding, operating while under
the influence of a drug, and possession of a controlled
P. Beauvais Jr., Sioux City, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Thomas J. Ogden, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
by Vogel, P.J., and Tabor and Bower, JJ.
Gordon appeals his convictions for eluding, operating while
under the influence of a drug, and possession of a controlled
substance. We find a defendant may be convicted of possession
of a controlled substance, even though the State has not
located the controlled substance, if there is sufficient
evidence the defendant actually possessed the controlled
substance at one time. Also, there is substantial evidence in
the record to support Gordon's convictions for eluding,
operating while under the influence, and possession of a
controlled substance (marijuana). We affirm the district
Background Facts & Proceedings
7, 2015, at 1:23 a.m., Officer Brandon Hallopeter was in his
squad car in Sioux City when he observed a GMC Yukon drive
by. As a matter of routine, Officer Hallopeter checked the
license plate of the vehicle and discovered it had expired.
He began following the Yukon, and it "increas[ed] its
speed, acting like it was trying to elude me." Officer
Hallopeter saw the vehicle take a wide turn and run through a
stop sign. He turned on his flashing lights and siren, but
the vehicle did not stop. Officer Hallopeter informed
dispatch he believed the driver of the vehicle might be
impaired. The vehicle went through several more stop signs,
was going seventy miles per hour in a thirty-five mile per
hour zone, and crossed the center line several times. After a
chase lasting about nine minutes, the vehicle stopped.
driver of the vehicle was Gordon, and there was a female
passenger in the car. Officer Hallopeter noticed the odor of
marijuana coming from the vehicle and Gordon. Officer Michael
Sitzman arrived at the scene and stated he detected "the
odor of raw marijuana coming from inside the vehicle."
Officer Sitzman was part of a canine unit. His dog alerted to
the odor of a controlled substance on the passenger's
side floorboard and a bag in the backseat. Officers found
rolling papers in the vehicle but did not find any controlled
stated he had taken about ten hits from a marijuana joint and
then threw the marijuana out the window while he was being
pursued. Gordon was taken to the police station, where
Officer Hallopeter engaged in a twelve-step drug recognition
process. Officer Hallopeter believed Gordon was
under the influence of marijuana due to lack of eye
convergence, rebound dilation of the pupils, marked reddening
of the conjunctiva, eyelid tremors, a high pulse, and high
blood pressure. The jailer, Miranda Kluver, stated Gordon
"had red bloodshot eyes. They were a little
was charged with eluding, in violation of Iowa Code section
321.279(3) (2015); operating while under the influence of a
drug, in violation of section 321J.2; and possession of a
controlled substance (marijuana), in violation of section
124.401(5). Gordon filed a motion for adjudication of law
points, claiming he could not be found guilty of possession
of a controlled substance when no controlled substance had
been located. The court did not grant the motion, stating
"factual disputes exist which may need to be developed
before the court considers the merits of the motion."
waived his right to a jury trial and the case was tried to
the court. The court found Gordon was guilty of eluding,
operating while under the influence, and possession of
marijuana. In total, Gordon was sentenced to a term of
imprisonment not to exceed five years. He now appeals his
Possession of a ...