from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Robert J.
Bright appeals from a conviction of indecent exposure.
C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Maria L. Ruhtenberg,
Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Sheryl A. Soich, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Potterfield and Doyle, JJ.
DANILSON, Chief Judge.
Bright appeals from his conviction for indecent exposure, in
violation of Iowa Code section 709.9 (2016), following a jury
trial. He challenges the sufficiency of the evidence that his
exposure of his erect penis was done with the specific intent
to arouse or satisfy his sexual desire. He also asserts trial
counsel was ineffective in failing to object to the admission
of the video recording of Bright's statements to police.
We find substantial evidence supports the conviction, and we
preserve Bright's ineffectiveness claim for possible
18, 2016, Catherine Leever went to Staples for office
supplies. She pulled into a parking space and noticed a man
(later identified as Joseph Bright) sitting in his car in the
spot next to her car on the passenger side. She shopped in
the store for approximately thirty to forty minutes. When she
returned to her car, Bright's car was now parked on the
driver's side of her car and was parked close enough that
she was "taken aback" and "a little
fearful." Leever decided to enter her car from the
passenger side. As she loaded her packages into her car, she
glanced out the driver's-side window to Bright's car
where she saw him "laying back in his car with his penis
fully erect point to the ceiling of his car." On
cross-examination, when defense counsel asked whether she saw
acts of masturbation or self-gratification, Leever stated,
"I saw Mr. Bright with his penis straight up in the air
to the roof." All four of Bright's car windows were
open and his seat was reclined. Leever was alarmed and
climbed over her center console to get into the driver's
seat, avoiding eye contact with Bright. She testified there
were few other cars in the parking lot. She "wanted to
get out of there." Leever drove to another part of the
parking lot and called 9-1-1. At the dispatcher's
request, Leever followed Bright for about seven or eight
minutes as he left the Staples parking lot, entered a Walmart
parking lot and left, turned into a gas station, and then
came out of the gas station lot. During this process, Leever
was able to provide the dispatcher with a partial license
plate number for Bright's car. The dispatcher later
informed Leever that police had Bright at a gas station.
officer Mark Parks responded to a call from dispatch about a
man wearing an orange shirt and a white hat and driving a
dark-colored four-door sedan with a partial plate A-M-Y.
Officer Parks located Bright at a gas station across from
Staples. Upon questioning, Bright stated he was in the area
to purchase a fish from a pet store. Bright was wearing a
baggy orange t-shirt and "track suit, or sweatpant
type" pants. After further questioning about his
presence in the area, Bright stated his boxers were
uncomfortable and he had "adjusted himself."
other officers also arrived at the gas station and Bright was
questioned for about forty minutes. Officer Brock Muhlbauer
was another of the officers who responded to the gas station.
asked [Bright] what he was up to today, and he-or that day,
and he said he was buying a fish at PetSmart. I asked him if
he knew anything about exposing himself, and he said that he
had to adjust himself in the parking lot. And I asked what he
meant by that, and he said he had a wedgie, that he had to
take care of that.
James Wilson questioned Bright, and Bright repeatedly denied
having been in the Staples parking lot. However, he later
acknowledged he "had stopped long enough to adjust
himself or adjust his boxers." Then Bright explained his
two parking locations to Detective Wilson, "He started
to back out, realized that he still wasn't comfortable,
and immediately pulled back over again." Bright
acknowledged to Detective Wilson he had a partial erection.
When Detective Wilson "told him it was virtually
impossible for her to be able to see that he had an erection
if his pants weren't down, to-at which point he finally
said that, yes, they had been down maybe [two] inches."
video recording of Bright's interaction with the police
officers was admitted into evidence. Defense counsel did not
object to the recording's admissibility. In fact, defense
counsel asked that the unredacted version of the recording be
played in its entirety. In closing arguments, defense counsel
referenced the video, noting Bright did not admit ...