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State v. Hopkins

Court of Appeals of Iowa

August 15, 2018

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
PAUL JOSEPH HOPKINS, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Monroe County, Lucy J. Gamon, Judge.

         Paul Hopkins appeals his conviction for extortion.

          Mark C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Theresa R. Wilson, Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Louis S. Sloven, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Potterfield and Tabor, JJ.

          VAITHESWARAN, Presiding Judge.

         Paul Hopkins entered First State Bank in Albia and loudly and angrily demanded money. In his words, if he did not receive the money, "the whole town would burn."

         The State charged Hopkins with extortion. See Iowa Code § 711.4(1)(a), 711.4(1)(g), 711.4(2) (2016). A jury found him guilty as charged. Hopkins filed a post-trial motion seeking to discharge his attorney. In response, his attorney moved to withdraw. After questioning Hopkins, the district court allowed him to represent himself in arguing his post-trial motion and at sentencing.

         On appeal, Hopkins challenges (1) his trial attorney's failure to request a jury instruction defining the "threat" required for extortion and (2) the district court's colloquy to establish whether his post-trial waiver of his right to counsel was knowing, voluntary, and intelligent.

         I. Ineffective Assistance of Counsel - Jury Instruction

         The jury was instructed the State would have to prove the following elements of extortion:

1. On or about the 9th day of March, 2016, the defendant threatened:
a. To inflict physical injury on employees of First Iowa State Bank; or
b. To injure the property of First Iowa State Bank.
It is not necessary that all jurors agree to just "a" or "b." It is only necessary that all jurors agree to at least one of the two ...

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