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State v. Runner

Court of Appeals of Iowa

February 7, 2018

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
HAL CHARLES RUNNER, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Poweshiek County, Annette J. Scieszinski, Judge.

         A defendant challenges his convictions and sentences for assault with intent to inflict serious injury and criminal mischief in the second degree as a habitual offender.

          Eric D. Tindal of Keegan Farnsworth & Tindal, Iowa City, for appellant.

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

          Considered by Vogel, P.J., Tabor, J., and Carr, S.J. [*]

          CARR, Senior Judge.

         Hal Runner appeals his convictions and sentences for assault with intent to inflict serious injury and criminal mischief in the second degree as a habitual offender. On appeal, he argues the trial court failed to state sufficient reasons for his sentence, insufficient evidence was presented as to the valuation of the victim's vehicle, his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to object to a jury instruction about valuation and for failing to present evidence at trial on valuation, and the trial court erred in ordering restitution concerning the vehicle.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings

         Runner and Michele McCurry were living together as a couple until separating in August 2014. When they separated, there was a no-contact order in place between them. Nonetheless, the two did meet in person on September 23.

         What happened at that meeting is a matter of dispute. Credible evidence suggests that an argument turned physical. McCurry admitted to hitting Runner's vehicle with her vehicle. Runner also admitted to hitting McCurry's vehicle with his vehicle. He admitted to pushing her down. Both parties agreed Runner hit or bumped McCurry's driver's side door.

         Runner was charged with attempted murder, in violation of Iowa Code section 707.11 (2013), and domestic abuse assault by impeding airway causing bodily injury, in violation of section 708.2A(1) and 708.2A(5). Runner pled not guilty.

         At trial, Caleb Schaffner, the owner of an auto repair center, testified on valuation of McCurry's vehicle. Schaffner estimated the cost to repair her vehicle was approximately $3000. He testified he found vehicles of the same make and model online for "anywhere between $1800 and $2400 depending on the condition and mileage."

         Following amendment of the trial information in advance of trial, four charges were submitted to the jury: attempted murder (count I), domestic abuse assault by strangulation (count II), domestic abuse assault while using a dangerous weapon (count III), and criminal mischief in the second degree (count IV). The jury found Runner guilty of the lesser included offense of assault with intent to inflict serious injury (count I), domestic abuse assault (count III), and criminal mischief in the second degree (count IV). The jury found Runner not guilty of domestic abuse assault by strangulation (count II). McCurry later submitted a statement claiming pecuniary damage of $1500.

         Following trial, Runner filed a motion for new trial and motion in arrest of judgment. His motion in arrest of judgment was granted in part after the district court found his right to speedy trial was violated as to count III. That conviction was vacated. Runner was sentenced to consecutive prison terms of two years (count I) and fifteen years (count IV). He was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1500.

         Runner now appeals.

         II. ...


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