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State v. Clark

Court of Appeals of Iowa

April 4, 2018

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
RONDELL CLARK SR., Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Joseph M. Moothart, District Associate Judge.

         A defendant appeals his conviction for assault causing bodily injury.

          Mark C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Brenda J. Gohr, Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Kevin Cmelik, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Vaitheswaran and Bower, JJ.

          BOWER, JUDGE.

         Rondell Clark Sr. appeals his conviction for assault causing bodily injury, in violation of Iowa Code sections 708.1 and 708.2(2) (2016). Clark claims the evidence was insufficient to convict him, as the victim's name was incorrect. In the alternative, Clark claims trial counsel was ineffective. We find Clark did not preserve error on his claim of insufficient evidence. We also find trial counsel was effective. We affirm the district court.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings

         On October 1, 2016, John Taylor and Tina Ackerson witnessed Clark "beating on a girl." Taylor saw Clark hitting the woman in the head and chest, pinning her against a garage door, throwing her to the ground, and continuing to strike her. Taylor called the police. An officer from the Waterloo Police Department arrived approximately six minutes after dispatch received the call.

         The officer witnessed Clark on top of the woman, holding her on the ground. The officer ordered Clark to stand up and back away; he complied. The woman identified herself as Latanya Pipes. She had a bruise over her right eye and was covered in dirt and debris. Clark was arrested.

         At trial Clark testified he did not know anyone named Latanya Pipes. He also testified he knew the woman as "Pookie" and she was staying with him. At various times during the investigation and trial, Clark said he had known the woman for his whole life and they "called themselves cousins, " or that they had met through his cousin and he had only known her a few months. Clark admitted he was arguing with the woman, though in his version of events she was the initial aggressor.

         The jury instructions stated:

1. On or about October 1, 2016, the defendant did an act which was intended to cause pain or injury to Latanya Pipes, OR resulted in physical contact which was insulting or offensive to Latanya Pipes, OR place Latanya Pipes in fear of immediate physical contact which ...

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