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State v. Shackford

Court of Appeals of Iowa

April 18, 2018

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
TAVISH COLEON SHACKFORD, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Robert J. Blink, Judge.

         Tavish Shackford appeals from his convictions for willful injury causing bodily injury and intimidation with a dangerous weapon with intent.

          Mark C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Vidhya K. Reddy, Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Benjamin M. Parrott, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

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

          DANILSON, Chief Judge.

         Tavish Shackford appeals from his convictions for willful injury causing bodily injury, a class "D" felony, in violation of Iowa Code section 708.4(2) (2016), [1]and intimidation with a dangerous weapon with intent, a class "C" felony, in violation of section 708.6. Shackford contends defense counsel rendered ineffective assistance by failing to challenge the sufficiency of the evidence to support the intimidation-with-a-dangerous-weapon conviction and failing to object to testimony reiterating out-of-court statements on hearsay and confrontation clause grounds. Shackford also asserts the district court applied an incorrect standard in ruling on Shackford's motion for new trial.

         Because prejudice has not been shown, we find no ineffective assistance of counsel with respect to the failure to object to testimony regarding out-of-court-statements. We also find no error in the standard applied in ruling on the motion for new trial or the court's denial of the motion as it related to the willful-injury-causing-bodily-injury count. However, we conclude trial counsel did render ineffective assistance in failing to object to the sufficiency of the evidence supporting the charge of intimidation with a dangerous weapon with intent, and we reverse and remand for dismissal of that charge and entry of a corrected judgment.

         I. Background Facts & Proceedings.

         In the early morning hours of April 17, 2016, Shackford was at a bar in Des Moines with his girlfriend and her friend. Tyler Armel and a group of his friends waited outside until Shackford's group exited the bar.[2] Armel and his friends followed Shackford's group into the parking garage and attempted to start a fight. The fight was broken up by police officers, and Shackford left the garage as a passenger in his girlfriend's vehicle-a silver Honda Civic-at 2:12 a. m. A security video showed the altercation stopped by officers and the exact time Shackford exited the parking garage.

         At the trial held January 11 and 12, 2017, Armel admitted he had followed Shackford into the parking garage for the sole purpose of fighting him. Armel stated after the police ordered him and his friends to leave, he spent about fifteen minutes looking for his brother and then drove home (a five to ten minute drive).

         Armel stated he arrived home in his vehicle and three of his friends arrived in at least one separate vehicle. One of the friends was James Wright, who was not present to testify at trial. Armel explained:

Q. What happened when you got home? A. As soon as I got out of my car-I left my car on because I was about to go to like an after party or something with my friends. And I walked to my front door, and I was about to walk in, and as soon as I put my key in the door, [my friend] said, "Hold on, Bro."

. . . .

A. He said, "Hold on, Bro." I said, "What's going on?" James was about to pull off and he stopped and he got out of his car, and he said, "Tyler, Coleon is pulling up."[3]

         Armel stated a black Mercedes stopped in the street in front of Armel's home. Armel said he recognized it to be a vehicle Shackford had driven before. Armel walked down the front sidewalk leading from his home to the street towards the vehicle. Armel stated the passenger window of the Mercedes was rolled down and he saw only one person in the car whom he identified as Shackford. Armel stated he saw Shackford point a gun at him and asked Shackford, "Are you going to shoot me?" Armel stated Shackford fired the gun, and Armel attempted to run around the side of his house. Armel estimated Shackford fired six more shots. Armel was shot in the thigh.

         Wright rushed Armel to the hospital where his wound was treated. At 3:16 a.m., Officer Brian Kelley was dispatched to the hospital where he spoke with Armel. Armel identified Shackford as the shooter. Officer Kelley enlisted the help of West Des Moines police officers to go to Shackford's home in West Des Moines. No West Des Moines police officers were called to testify at trial. Officer Kelley stated the West Des Moines police officers did not locate the Mercedes at Shackford's residence and did not speak to anyone, although they observed a man inside the home close the blinds.

         Shackford resided with his mother, Angela Phelps. Phelps stated when she arrived home on April 17 between 3:30 and 4:30 a.m., the Mercedes was parked in the driveway. Phelps explained she keeps the keys to the Mercedes either on her person or stored in her locked bedroom, and Shackford cannot drive the Mercedes without her permission. Upon arriving home on April 17, Phelps saw West Des Moines police officers coming over the fence out of her backyard and asked them why they were there. The officers told Phelps there had been a shooting and they were looking for Shackford. Phelps refused to let the police officers into her home without a warrant. When she went inside, Phelps saw that Shackford was there as well as his girlfriend and his younger brother.

          At trial, Shackford explained that on April 17, after the police directed the individuals in the parking garage to go their separate ways, his group left in his girlfriend's car at about 2:17 a.m. Shackford stated they drove around the area for approximately twenty minutes looking for his younger brother. After they found his brother, they dropped another passenger off by his car and drove to Shackford's home in West Des Moines. Shackford estimated they arrived home at about 3 a.m. Shackford stated he did not leave the home for the remainder of the night. Shackford's girlfriend and younger brother also stated at trial that Shackford did not leave the house again that night.

         On January 13, 2017, the jury returned its verdict finding Shackford guilty of willful injury causing bodily injury and intimidation with a dangerous weapon with intent. Shackford filed a motion for new trial on January 23, 2017. The court denied the motion for new trial and entered its sentencing order on April 4, 2017. Shackford now appeals.

         II. Standard of Review.

         "We review ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claims de novo." State v. Tompkins, 859 N.W.2d 631, 636 (Iowa 2015).

         "[W]e review a claim that the district court failed to apply the proper standard in ruling on a motion for new trial for errors at law." State v. Ary, 877 N.W.2d 686, 706 (Iowa 2016).

         III. Analysis.

         On appeal, Shackford contends defense counsel rendered ineffective assistance in failing to challenge the sufficiency of the evidence to establish the charge of intimidation with a dangerous weapon with intent. Shackford also contends counsel was ineffective for failing to object to testimony respecting out-of-court statements by Wright ...


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