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State v. Baccam

Court of Appeals of Iowa

January 24, 2018

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
PETER PATRICK BACCAM, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Sioux County, Jeffrey L. Poulson, Judge.

         Peter Baccam appeals his conviction of domestic abuse assault by strangulation causing bodily injury.

          Jared R. Weber of Jared Weber, Attorney at Law, Orange City, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Thomas E. Bakke, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Potterfield and McDonald, JJ.

          POTTERFIELD, JUDGE.

         Peter Baccam appeals his conviction of domestic abuse assault causing bodily injury, second offense, in violation of Iowa Code section 708.2A(3)(b) (2016). On appeal, Baccam argues the district court should have granted his motion for a new trial because the court improperly admitted evidence of prior bad acts at his jury trial. Baccam argues the district court also erred by allowing hearsay evidence to be admitted. As to both of these arguments, Baccam relies on a record made before the first witness testified. The objections Baccam noted in this record were not renewed or ruled upon during the presentation of evidence. Baccam also argues there is insufficient evidence to support his conviction.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         Peter Baccam and the complaining witness lived together, were in a relationship, and had three children together. The complaining witness was several months pregnant at the time of the altercation on October 10, 2016. There are different accounts of what happened that day. The following day the complaining witness sought medical attention and told medical personnel about the altercation. Medical personnel notified law enforcement. Law enforcement officers interviewed the complaining witness about the altercation.

         Baccam was charged with domestic abuse assault on October 20, 2016. Baccam pled not guilty. In January 2017 a jury convicted Baccam of domestic abuse assault. The State filed a notice to court in January 2017 acknowledging a State exhibit contained information referring to prior physical abuse, in conflict with the court's earlier ruling on a motion in limine. Baccam filed a motion for a new trial in February 2017, and the court overruled the motion after a hearing in March 2017.[1]

         II. Prior Bad Acts.

         Baccam argues a medical report was improperly admitted because it contained references to prior bad acts. The State argues this issue is not preserved for our review.

         Prior to trial, Baccam filed a motion in limine, in part requesting the court to exclude evidence of any prior convictions, arrests, or allegations of wrongful acts of the defendant. Baccam cited Iowa Rule of Evidence 5.404(b)(1): "Prohibited use. Evidence of a crime, wrong, or other act is not admissible to prove a person's character in order to show that on a particular occasion the person acted in accordance with the character."

         The district court granted Baccam's motion in limine in a pretrial conference order, but ...


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