from the Iowa District Court for Bremer County, Christopher
C. Foy, Judge.
challenges his convictions for two counts of burglary in the
first degree and one count of sexual abuse in the third
Alfredo Parrish, Andrew J. Dunn, and Gina Messamer of Parrish
Kruidenier Dunn Boles Gribble Gentry Brown & Bergmann
L.L.P., Des Moines, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Linda J. Hines, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
by Danilson, C.J., and Vaitheswaran, Doyle, Tabor and
twenty-first birthday; party bus; young people; alcohol; sex
act; she said; he said; accused; charged; tried; convicted.
In this direct appeal, the defendant Blake King now
challenges his convictions for two counts of burglary in the
first degree, in violation of Iowa Code sections 713.1 and
713.3 (2016), and sexual abuse in the third degree, in
violation of Iowa Code sections 709.1 and 709.4(1)(d). King
raises several claims on appeal. King argues he was denied a
fair trial when the district court denied King's motions
to strike certain jurors. King challenges the sufficiency of
the evidence supporting the convictions. King also contends
his counsel provided constitutionally deficient
representation in failing to raise an intoxication defense
and request an intoxication instruction.
offense conduct at issue occurred on the night M.A.
celebrated her twenty-first birthday. She rented a party bus
and invited some friends, including King, to join her for a
night of revelry. The friends met and boarded the bus in
Shell Rock around 7 p.m. Over the course of the evening, the
bus traveled to drinking establishments in Shell Rock,
Waverly, Janesville, and Cedar Falls. Different people joined
and left the party at different locations. M.A. testified
there were approximately fifteen to twenty people on the
party bus at any particular point in time. The partygoers had
fun on the bus; they drank and "grinded" on each
other. At the end of the night, some of the partygoers,
including M.A. and King, went to a friend's house and
continued to celebrate until approximately three o'clock
in the morning.
end of the night, King drove M.A. home. Also in the car were
Ariel Pratt, King's younger brother, and the younger
brother's two friends. Pratt was one of M.A.'s
closest friends and part of M.A.'s "friend group,
" which also included King. Pratt and King shared a
mutual attraction and were in the beginning stages of a
romantic relationship. The "friend group" spent
nearly every weekend together, including frequently drinking
together. M.A. had stayed the night at King's house on
prior occasions. She had also slept in King's bed before,
after a night of drinking.
the group arrived at M.A.'s house, King accompanied M.A.
into the house while Pratt waited in the car. After waiting
outside for several minutes, Pratt received a text message
from King regarding M.A.'s cat. Pratt went inside to
follow up. M.A. testified she conversed briefly with Pratt
and King. M.A. requested Pratt and King help M.A. find her
cat, which slept in M.A.'s bed with her, and get M.A. a
glass of water. Pratt and King found the cat, got M.A. a
glass of water, and left the house. M.A. testified she closed
her bedroom door, undressed herself, changed into her
pajamas, and went to sleep.
testified the next thing she remembered was waking up and
"feeling very uncomfortable." She noticed her pants
and underwear were not on. She pulled a condom out of her
vagina. She saw the silhouette of a person. She held out the
condom and said, "What is this. What are you doing. What
just happened." The person responded, "Nobody has
to know." M.A. recognized the voice as King's. She
told King to get out, and he did. At the time, M.A. was
residing in the spare bedroom of her friends Courtney Carolus
and Nick West. After King left, M.A. immediately went into
Carolus and West's bedroom and woke up Carolus. M.A.
said, "Blake was just here. Like he just had sex with
me. I didn't have sex with him." She specifically
testified she was clear headed at the time. Carolus told M.A.
she had a bad dream and should go back to bed. M.A. did so.
next day M.A. messaged King and asked him what happened the
night before. She messaged she "woke up to all of a
sudden crying and pulling a condom out of me . . . I never
willingly have se[x] with random people. I've only ever
had sex with the people I've dated and been in a
relationship with so I literally got raped." King
replied, "We never had sex!" King messaged back
that M.A. pulled him down toward her, she "grinded"
on him, and so he put on a condom. King messaged that he
could not get an erection, the condom came off, and M.A. told
him "nevermind" and he should just leave. He
emphatically messaged again, "We never had sex."
They ended this electronic conversation by promising to not
tell anyone about the prior night's events. After this
initial exchange M.A. went about her day, spoke with Pratt
and Carolus, and tended her social media account. At some
point during the day, M.A. posted on her social media account
a picture of herself with King and others and the caption,
"best birthday ever." Later that evening,
M.A.'s attitude changed, and she sent King a message,
"I've done some thinking and honestly what you did
was wrong and f*cked up. I was asleep when you basically
raped me. . . . I don't remember ever pulling you down
and apparently grinding on you but that is no invite to come
back to someone's house that isn't yours to try and
have sex with me." King responded, among other things,
"We didn't have sex! . . . You initiated it, but it
never even went anywhere." The parties exchanged several
more messages and ceased communications.
reported the incident to police, and King was criminally
charged. King testified at trial. King testified when he
dropped M.A. off at her house, he went to say good night to
her and M.A. "grabbed [him] by [his] shirt and kissed
[him]. And she told [him] that she didn't want to be
alone for the night." King testified this took a few
minutes so he sent Pratt a text message regarding the cat,
apparently as a cover for the delay. King told M.A. he would
come back after he dropped off Pratt. After King sent the
text message to Pratt, she came into the house. King and
Pratt then found M.A.'s cat, got M.A. a glass of water,
and had a brief conversation with M.A. before they left. King
dropped off Pratt, his brother, and his brother's friends
and then returned to the house. He testified he entered the
house and entered M.A.'s bedroom. He remembered the door
was closed, but he was able to nudge the door open without
turning the doorknob. He said to M.A., "Hey, [M.A.] do
you still want me to stay, " and she replied, "Yes,
come here." According to King, M.A. shifted in the bed
and lifted the blanket for him. He got into the bed and under
the blanket. He was wearing only his boxer shorts and a
shirt. The two began "spooning." King testified
M.A. was "grinding" on him. She eventually reached
back and grabbed his erect penis and manually stimulated him.
He ejaculated after "a couple minutes." King
testified he stood up to remove his wet boxer shorts, and
M.A. told him "she wasn't on birth control and if
[they] were going to have sex, [he] would have to use a
condom." She initially directed him to her nightstand
for a condom, although from there he testified he could not
remember all the details about how a condom was located. He
put on the condom but was unable to maintain an erection. The
two spoke for a bit, including agreeing not to tell Pratt,
before M.A. told King he should go. King left. He maintained
at trial that he did not have sexual intercourse with M.A.
and that the sex act that did occur was consensual.
was forensic evidence presented at trial. A semen sample was
collected from the string of M.A.'s tampon. M.A.
testified she found the tampon lying on the floor under her
bed the day after the events at issue. M.A. testified she did
not remember removing the tampon and King must have removed
it while she was sleeping. In contrast, King testified M.A.
removed the tampon in his presence, which he found
unpleasant, which was one of the reasons he could not
maintain an erection. The seminal fluid found on the string
of the tampon matched King's DNA. King's DNA was also
found on the fitted sheet. There was no DNA evidence in
M.A.'s underwear, mouth, vagina, or anus.
hearing the evidence, the jury found King guilty of two
counts of burglary in the first degree and sexual abuse in
the third degree. The district court merged the convictions
and sentences for sex abuse in the third degree and one count
of burglary in the first degree into the other count of
burglary in the first degree. The district court sentenced
King to an indeterminate term of incarceration not to exceed
twenty five years, and King timely filed this appeal.
first address King's claims of error related to the
district court's denial of King's request to strike
for cause two jurors. We review the district court's
rulings on challenges to potential jurors for cause for abuse
of discretion. State v. Jonas, 904 N.W.2d 566,
570-71 (Iowa 2017).
Iowa Rules of Criminal Procedure provide a list of factual
circumstances which constitute a basis for which the trial
court may sustain a challenge for cause." State v.
Hatter, 381 N.W.2d 370, 372 (Iowa Ct. App. 1985).
"Three principles govern our review of such
questions." State v. Williams, 285 N.W.2d 248,
267 (Iowa 1979). First, the trial court has broad discretion.
Id. Second, "a determination of a prospective
juror's qualifications must rest upon the entire record
of the examination." Id. Third, the trial judge
is the fact-finder when determining whether a ground for
challenge exists. Id. "While we have generally
reviewed disqualification of jurors deferentially, we have
long cautioned trial courts against allowing close issues to
creep into the record and threaten the validity of a criminal
trial." Jonas, 904 N.W.2d at 575.
claims the district court erred in denying his motion to
strike for cause juror J.B. During voir dire, the juror
disclosed that her daughter had been sexually assaulted by an
acquaintance, specifically a twenty-two or twenty-three year
old man, three months prior to this trial and that the
incident was under investigation. The juror explained to the
court she could nonetheless remain fair and impartial in
evaluating the evidence in this case. The district court
denied King's motion to strike the juror for cause. King
exercised a peremptory strike to remove the juror, but King
did not request an additional peremptory strike as a remedy.
claim does not entitle King to any relief because he cannot
establish prejudice. In the recent Jonas case, the
supreme court reaffirmed a criminal defendant is not entitled
to relief "where a judge improperly denies a challenge
for cause but the defendant does not specifically ask for an
additional peremptory challenge of a particular juror after
exhausting his peremptory challenges under the rule."
Jonas, 904 N.W.2d at 583. The defendant's
briefing was submitted prior to ...