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State v. Hergenrader

Court of Appeals of Iowa

December 5, 2018

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
ALAN LEE HERGENRADER, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Monona County, Patrick H. Tott, Judge.

         Defendant appeals his conviction for operating while intoxicated.

          Bryan R. Goodman of Goodman Law Firm, LLC, Sioux City, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Sharon K. Hall, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

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

          VOGEL, JUDGE.

         Alan Hergenrader appeals his conviction and sentence for the crime of operating while intoxicated, first offense.[1] First, Hergenrader argues his booking video should have been admitted in its entirety with sound, citing Iowa Rule of Evidence 5.106. Second, Hergenrader argues the video, The Truth is in the Eyes, should not have been admitted as a demonstrative exhibit because the State did not lay a proper foundation and it was irrelevant and unfairly prejudicial. Since defense counsel conceded the audio was not critical to Hergenrader's defense, we find the district court did not abuse its discretion by playing the entire booking video without audio. In addition, we find the district court did not abuse its discretion by admitting the demonstrative video.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings

         On July 1, 2016, in the late afternoon, Sergeant Michael Kober with the Iowa State Patrol pulled over a vehicle for speeding; Hergenrader was the driver. Sergeant Kober testified he noticed some empty beer bottles on the floorboard behind the driver's seat and detected "a slight odor of alcohol coming from the vehicle."

         Sergeant Kober administered the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test and found Hergenrader scored four out of six clues indicating intoxication. Additionally, Sergeant Kober had Hergenrader perform the walk-and-turn and the one-leg-stand field sobriety tests. Sergeant Kober determined Hergenrader failed both of those tests. Hergenrader was then transported to the county jail where he provided a breath sample, which revealed his blood alcohol content was .094 percent.

         Hergenrader was charged with the offense of operating while intoxicated, first offense. A jury trial was held from June 6 to 9, 2017. On July 21, 2017, Hergenrader was convicted and sentenced to thirty days in jail, with twenty-eight of those days suspended; ordered to complete Drinker Driving School; ordered to pay fines plus surcharges; placed on a one-year probation; and ordered to receive a substance abuse evaluation. Additionally, Hergenrader's privilege to operate a motor vehicle was suspended for 180 days. Hergenrader appeals.

         II. Standard of Review

         We review a district court's ruling on the admissibility of evidence based on Iowa Rule of Evidence 5.106 for an abuse of discretion. State v. Austin, 585 N.W.2d 241, 243 (Iowa 1998). "We find an abuse of discretion only when the party claiming such shows that the court exercised the discretion on grounds or for reasons clearly untenable or to an extent clearly unreasonable." State v. Maghee, 573 N.W.2d 1, 5 (Iowa 1997). Furthermore, "[a]dmission or exclusion of demonstrative evidence rests largely within the trial court's discretion; therefore, we will not interfere unless the trial court has abused that discretion." State v. Thornton, 498 N.W.2d 670, 674 (Iowa 1993).

         III. Admissibility of ...


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