from the Iowa District Court for Woodbury County, John D.
McPherson appeals his conviction for assault on a police
Zachary S. Hindman of Mayne, Arneson, Hindman, Hisey &
Daane, Sioux City, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Zachary C. Miller, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Doyle, P.J., and Tabor and McDonald, JJ.
McPherson was charged by trial information with assault on a
police officer causing bodily injury, in violation of Iowa
Code section 708.3A (2016), following a scuffle with Special
Agent Todd Monney of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms
and Explosives (ATF) that occurred in a Sergeant Bluff Police
Department interview room. A jury found McPherson guilty of
the lesser-included charge of assault on a police
appeal, McPherson challenges the sufficiency and weight of
the evidence. Viewing the evidence in the light most
favorable to the State, we find ample evidence to affirm the
verdict. In addition, we see no abuse of discretion in the
district court's determination the greater weight of
credible evidence supported the verdict.
end of the trial, defense counsel made a motion for judgment
of acquittal. He argued, "The evidence is clear that no
contact was actually made with Agent Monney. Even if the
actions of Mr. McPherson were to be construed as an assault,
it is clear that those actions did not result in any kind of
bodily injury." The State resisted. The district court
denied the motion, commenting, "Well, I believe I saw
touching. We heard testimony about touching. We heard
testimony of cause. It's up to the jury to decide whether
this happened. And I believe there's sufficient evidence
to submit [the assault-on-a-police-officer charge]."
deliberating, the jury found McPherson guilty of the
lesser-included charge of assault on a police officer.
McPherson filed posttrial motions-a motion for new trial and
a motion in arrest of judgment-asserting the same arguments
he previously raised to the court. The court denied the
Sufficiency of the Evidence.
of evidence claims are reviewed for correction of errors at
law, and we will uphold a verdict if substantial evidence
supports it." State v. Ramirez, 895 N.W.2d 884,
890 (Iowa 2017). On a challenge to sufficiency of evidence,
we assess the record in the light most favorable to the
State, including all reasonable inferences that we may fairly
draw from the evidence. See State v. Howse, 875
N.W.2d 684, 688 (Iowa 2016). We will uphold a jury's
verdict if it is supported by substantial evidence. See
id. Evidence is substantial when a reasonable jury could
rely on it to find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable
doubt. See id. Evidence is not substantial if it
raises only suspicion, speculation, or conjecture. See
id. "Inherent in our standard of review of jury
verdicts in criminal cases is the recognition that the jury
[is] free to reject certain evidence and credit other
evidence." State v. Nitcher, 720 N.W.2d 547,
556 (Iowa 2006).
person commits assault on a peace officer when the person
commits an assault "as defined in section 708.1 . . .
against a peace officer" and the person knows that the
other person is a peace officer. See Iowa Code