from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Cheryl E.
Traum, District Associate Judge.
Chaney appeals his convictions for driving while barred as a
habitual offender, assault on persons engaged in certain
occupations, driving under suspension, and interference with
G. Hoover of Blair & Fitzsimmons, P.C., Dubuque, for
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Thomas J. Ogden, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Vaitheswaran and Bower, JJ.
concerned citizen called 911 after seeing a man, later
identified as Steven Chaney, driving a vehicle "all over
the road." A Bettendorf patrol officer arrived at the
scene and pulled the keys from the ignition. Chaney got out
of the vehicle and "came at him." Chaney also
kicked a police sergeant.
State charged Chaney with driving while barred as a habitual
offender, two counts of assault on persons engaged in certain
occupations, two counts of driving under suspension, and two
counts of interference with official acts. See Iowa
Code §§ 321.218, 321A.32(1), 321.555, 321.561,
708.3A(4), 719.1(1)(b) (2016). A jury found him guilty as
appeal, Chaney contends he was denied a fair trial based on
"[t]he State's repeated and surreptitious references
to alcohol and intoxication over the duration of the
trial." The State preliminarily responds with an error
did not object to the alcohol-related evidence as it was
introduced at trial. The State argues he was required to do
so to preserve error. See State v. Martin, 704
N.W.2d 665, 669 (Iowa 2005) ("Generally, when a party
makes no objection to the reception of evidence at trial, the
matter will not be reviewed on appeal." (quoting
Wirtanen v. Provin, 293 N.W.2d 252, 257 (Iowa
1980))). However, Chaney filed a pretrial motion in limine to
exclude the phrase "intoxicated driver, " a beer
can recovered by the first officer, and "any testimony
or evidence regarding 'alcohol.'" The district
court summarily denied the motion. The ruling left no doubt
about the court's view on the admissibility of the
evidence. We conclude the ruling sufficed to preserve error.
See State v. Daly, 623 N.W.2d 799, 800 (Iowa 2001).
We proceed to the merits.
argues the prosecutor's efforts to "[s]hepard
evidence before the jury of [his] intoxication is of no
relevance to the case." See Shawhan v. Polk
Cty., 420 N.W.2d 808, 810 (Iowa 1988) (expressing
"serious doubts whether the evidence . . . would be
relevant to any material issue"). He also asserts the
probative value of the evidence was outweighed by its
prejudicial effect. Finally, he contends the evidence
deprived him of a fair trial. We begin and end with the
relevancy question. Evidence is relevant when it has
"any tendency to make the existence of any fact that is
of consequence to the determ ination of the action more
probable or less probable than it would be without the
evidence." Iowa R. Evid. 5.401.
State did not charge Chaney with operating a motor vehicle
while intoxicated. The State charged him with driving while
barred, driving while under suspension, assault on peace
officers, and interference with official acts.
jury was instructed that driving while barred requires the
State to prove Chaney operated a motor vehicle on a public
roadway with a barred driver's license. The jury was
further instructed that driving under suspension required the
State to prove Chaney's "right to operate a motor
vehicle in the State of Iowa had been suspended for having
been declared a habitual traffic violator and/or failure to
pay fines owed to the State of Iowa." The assault charge
required proof of the following elements:
1. On or about the 3rd day of June, 2016, the defendant did
an act which was intended to cause pain or injury, result in
physical contact which was insulting or offensive, or place
[the officer] in fear of an immediate physical contact which
would have been ...