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State v. Mubarak

Court of Appeals of Iowa

November 7, 2018

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
MUBARAK MATTA MUBARAK, Defendant-Appellant.

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

         Mubarak Mubarak appeals his conviction for robbery in the first degree.

          Jessica Maffitt of Benzoni Law Office, PLC, Des Moines, for appellant.

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

          Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Vogel and Tabor, JJ.

          VOGEL, JUDGE.

         Mubarak Mubarak appeals his conviction for robbery in the first degree. He argues insufficient evidence supports his conviction and his sentence is illegal as being grossly disproportional. Because we find the State presented sufficient evidence to identify Mubarak as the perpetrator and his sentence is not illegal as being disproportionate to the crime, we affirm.

         I. Background Fact and Proceedings

         Early on September 24, 2016, Eh Nwe drove from work to his home at an apartment complex in Des Moines. Shortly before 1:00 a.m., he parked at his complex, but, before he exited his car, a man approached him on foot. Nwe could not "see his face very clear," but he described the man as black, about five foot and nine or ten inches tall, and not fat. He wore torn blue jeans, a long black jacket with a zipper and a hood that covered his head, and a round silver earring in his right ear. Nwe locked his door "for safety." The man set a Budweiser beer can on top of Nwe's car and told Nwe to give him his phone. Nwe rolled his window down half-way, thinking the man may have needed help. When Nwe did not give up his phone, the man pointed a gun at Nwe's head and told him to hand over his wallet. Nwe was able to deflect the man's hand, roll up the window, and back up the car, which shined the car's lights on the man. Nwe immediately called 911 and was able to drive away without surrendering anything. Minutes later, Officer Kyle Thies arrived and met with Nwe. Nwe described the man to Officer Thies, pointed to the area where the man went, and entered his apartment.

         Officer Thies proceeded to the location Nwe indicated-about fifty yards from where the incident occurred-where he found Mubarak and three other individuals. Mubarak wore a black jacket, blue jeans, and an earring, and he had a can of beer in his hand. Mubarak's appearance was "identical" to the description Nwe provided, and the other three individuals at the scene did not match the description. Officer Thies detained, patted down, and questioned all four individuals, and he searched two vehicles known to be associated with the individuals. He found a gun and a loaded magazine on Mubarak, and he did not find any other weapons when searching the other individuals and the vehicles. Another officer brought Nwe to Officer Thies, and Nwe confirmed Mubarak "look[s] like" the man who pointed a gun at him. Officer Thies told Mubarak he would be charged with robbery in the first degree, and Officer Thies testified Mubarak said the charge was not appropriate "[b]ecause he didn't take anything and [Nwe] did not give him anything."

         A trial was held October 30 and 31, 2017, after which the jury found Mubarak guilty of robbery in the first degree. The district court sentenced him to a term of incarceration not to exceed twenty-five years with a mandatory minimum sentence of seventy percent or seventeen-and-one-half years. Mubarak now appeals. He argues the evidence identifying him as the perpetrator is insufficient to support his conviction and his sentence is illegal as being grossly disproportional.

         II. Standard of Review

         We review insufficient-evidence claims for errors at law. State v. Ramirez, 895 N.W.2d 884, 890 (Iowa 2017). "We review de novo a constitutional challenge to an illegal sentence." State v. Hoeck, 843 N.W.2d 67, 70 (Iowa 2014).

         III. Sufficiency ...


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