from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Linda M.
defendant appeals his convictions for domestic abuse assault
with intent to cause serious injury and domestic abuse
assault causing bodily injury.
Nicholas T. Larson, of Larson Law Office, P.L.L.C., Osage,
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Kyle P. Hanson and Tyler J.
Buller, Assistant Attorneys General, for appellee.
Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Potterfield and
found Eric Sallis guilty of domestic abuse assault with
intent to cause serious injury, in violation of Iowa Code
section 708.2A(2)(c) (2016), and domestic abuse assault
causing bodily injury, in violation of section 708.2A(2)(b).
The district court sentenced Sallis to two years'
incarceration. Sallis appeals his convictions, contending the
district court committed evidentiary error and there is
insufficient evidence to support the convictions.
approximately one o'clock in the morning on January 31,
2016, Kavina Walker went to the Waterloo Police Department to
report she had been assaulted by her live-in boyfriend,
Sallis. Walker was panicking, upset, mad, and crying. Walker
reported Sallis hit her and then kicked her when she fell to
the ground. Walker told the interviewing officers she was in
pain and needed to go to the hospital. An officer took
photographs of Walker's injuries, which included
significant swelling to the side of her face consistent with
her report. The Waterloo Fire Department transported Walker
to a local hospital for treatment of her injuries. On the
same night, Walker's sister, Quinnisha Hodges, provided a
statement to the police. She told the officer she witnessed
Sallis kick Walker when Walker was lying on the ground. She
also stated she chased Sallis away from the scene.
Hodges' interview with the police was recorded.
different story emerged at trial. Walker testified she spent
much of the day in question drinking to celebrate her
birthday. She testified that late on the night of the 30th
she picked up Sallis and they drove around while drinking.
She testified they then drove to her cousin's house to
"sit there and drink." According to Walker's
testimony, there were a number of people at the house already
drinking by the time she and Sallis arrived. Walker testified
she was at the party for only fifteen to thirty minutes. Upon
leaving the party, Walker testified, she was attacked by a
pedestrian who happened to be walking by her cousin's
house when she exited the house. The assault only ended when
Hodges came out of the house and interrupted the fight.
Walker testified she told the police Sallis attacked her only
because she was mad at Sallis after the two exchanged words
regarding Walker's ex-boyfriend, who was expected to
arrive at the party.
testified he and Walker drove to Walker's cousin's
house but he left after only a few minutes and walked to his
sister's house. He testified he left the party to avoid a
confrontation with Walker's ex-boyfriend, who was
expected to arrive at the party. He testified Walker was at
the party when he left and he did not assault Walker.
testified she had no recollection of the events on the night
in question because she was too intoxicated. At trial, Hodges
testified she was drunk when she went to the police station
and could not recall her statements to the police. The
recorded interview was then played for Hodges outside the
presence of the jury to refresh her recollection. Hodges then
testified viewing the video did not refresh her recollection
of the interview. The district court then allowed the video
to be played for the jury as a recorded recollection.
State's case consisted of the testimony of the officers
who interviewed Walker and Hodges at the police station on
the night in question and the video of Hodges' interview.
Waterloo Police Department Sergeant Matt McGeough testified
he was present at the police station when he heard a violent
pounding at the back door. When he opened the door, he
encountered Walker. Walker was "pretty distraught and
very emotionally upset, saying she had just been
assaulted." McGeough testified he interviewed Walker.
Officer Walter was present during the interview. Both
McGeough and Walter testified, over counsel's hearsay
objections, that Walker reported Sallis had hit and kicked
her. The defendant also interposed a hearsay objection to
Officer Brownell's testimony regarding the same subject.
argues the district court erred in allowing the officers to
testify regarding the statements Walker made during her
police interview. Specifically, he contends the testimony was
hearsay. We review hearsay claims for correction of
errors at law. See State v. Smith, 876 N.W.2d 180,
184 (Iowa 2016). Whether a statement constitutes hearsay is a
legal issue, "leaving the trial court no discretion on
whether to admit or deny admission of the statement."
Id. However, we give deference to the factual
findings of the district court and uphold those findings if
they are supported by substantial evidence. See State v.
Long, 628 N.W.2d 440, 447 (Iowa 2001).
is a statement the declarant does not make while testifying
at the current trial or hearing and which is offered into
evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted.
See Iowa R. Evid. 5.801. As a general rule, hearsay
is inadmissible unless an exception applies. See
Iowa R. Evid. 5.802. One such exception to the general rule
is the "excited utterance" exception, which allows
for the admission of "[a] statement relating to a