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State v. Brown

Court of Appeals of Iowa

December 5, 2018

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
BRANDON BROWN, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Jeffrey D. Farrell, Judge.

         Brandon Brown appeals his conviction for stalking while in possession of a dangerous weapon. AFFIRMED.

          Charles Isaacson of Charles Isaacson Law, PC, Des Moines, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Sheryl Soich, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Vaitheswaran and McDonald, JJ.

          VOGEL, PRESIDING JUDGE.

         Brandon Brown appeals his conviction for stalking while in possession of a dangerous weapon. He argues the evidence is insufficient to support his conviction. We find the evidence sufficient and affirm.

         In October 2016, Ebony Quarles and her children came to the attention of the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS). Brown is the father of one of her children, I.B., but he did not live with Quarles or I.B. DHS offered services to the family and left the children in Quarles's home.

         Around 10:30 a.m. on March 3, 2017, Hayley Porter, a social worker at DHS, visited Quarles and the children in the home. After observing concerns, Porter began the process for voluntarily removing the children. She called Brown to ask if he could take the children, and he agreed. But Porter told Brown she needed to gather more information and she would call him back on whether he could take the children. The Polk County Attorney then denied permission for Brown to take the children due to matters related to an open case involving another child of his. About thirty minutes after the phone call, Brown arrived at the home and took three of the children-but not I.B., who was apparently in school at the time-with Quarles's permission. Porter and another DHS worker tried to stop him, but he refused to wait for a removal order and drove away with the three children who were unrelated to him.

         Later that day, Porter obtained an emergency removal order for Quarles's children. I.B.'s school was placed on lockdown to prevent Brown from taking the child. Police stopped Brown outside the school, and Porter drove to the school hoping to find where he took the children.[1] During the encounter, Porter testified Brown said she is "going to pay," took pictures of her license plate while laughing, and repeatedly approached her close enough that officers told him several times to back up. Brown testified he took pictures of all vehicles at the scene "for my own personal use so I can know what's going on. Any time I interact with a police officer or anything, I make sure I take police pictures and videos of everything just to protect myself." He acknowledged being angry outside the school, but he testified he was "calm" and "firm," and he denied the officers ever told him to back away from Porter.

         After the encounter outside the school, all drove away but Porter noticed Brown was following right behind her and making every turn she made. Fearful of Brown's tailing her, Porter drove toward the Des Moines police station, and she testified he stopped following her just before she got to the station. Brown acknowledged following her when leaving the school, but he testified he only followed her because they left at the same time and they both travelled the same route back to the main road.

         Porter testified Brown apparently called her personal cell phone later that day. She did not know how he obtained her number, though she may not have blocked her number when she called him earlier. She testified he said, "I'm going to make your life miserable," and demanded to know where I.B. was. When she refused to share information about I.B., Brown hung up. Porter also received multiple text messages, apparently from Brown, that indicated he knew personal information about her and her family. Brown denied calling her that evening or sending those text messages.

         On or about March 10, police executed a search warrant at Brown's home looking for the three children. Police called Porter to the home to identify the children. She testified Brown yelled and charged at her when he saw her inside his home, causing the officers to hold him back. He denied charging at her or being restrained. Porter determined the children in the home were not Quarles's children, but she testified Brown kept trying to confront her as she left. An officer followed her home at her request.

         Because of Brown's actions, DHS removed Porter from I.B.'s case. However, Brown continued to call Porter's personal and office phones even after being told she was no longer working on I.B.'s case. He testified he called her and visited the DHS office because he wanted information ...


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