from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Karen A.
defendant appeals his conviction for second-degree robbery.
C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Robert P. Ranschau,
Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Genevieve Reinkoester,
Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Vogel and Tabor, JJ.
convicted Jose Avalos Covarrubias of robbery in the second
degree. The guilty verdict followed evidence that Avalos
Covarrubias tried to steal a car occupied by Deanna Sargent.
On appeal, Avalos Covarrubias claims the State failed to
prove he specifically intended for Sargent to sustain a
bodily injury. But he misconstrues the element. To enhance
robbery to second degree under Iowa Code section 711.3
(2017), the State needed to show Avalos Covarrubias had
specific intent to commit an assault under section 708.1(2)
and his act caused bodily injury under section 708.2(2).
Because the State's proof satisfied that element of
second-degree robbery, we will not disturb the verdict.
Facts and Prior Proceedings
July evening, Sargent was sitting in her parked car, speaking
on her cell phone. While she was talking to her mother, a
stranger-later identified as Avalos Covarrubias-approached
her car, opened the driver's door, and started yelling.
He told her to get out and give him the keys. Sargent turned
off the car and pulled the keys from the ignition. In a
struggle with Avalos Covarrubias over the keys, Sargent felt
pain in her palm. She recalled "the key ripped the skin
off my hand."
Sargent relinquished the keys, Avalos Covarrubias tried to
grab the cell phone from her hand. When he was unsuccessful, he
threw the car keys back at her and ran away. Police later
determined Avalos Covarrubias was the
addition to the bloody scrape on her hand, Sargent reported a
painful "knot" in her palm. An x-ray at urgent care
showed no broken bones, and Sargent treated her wound with
antibiotic cream and ibuprofen.
State originally charged Avalos Covarrubias with burglary in
the first degree and robbery in the second degree. But the
State dismissed the burglary charge and took only the robbery
case to trial. The defense moved for judgment of acquittal at
the conclusion of the State's evidence and again after
Avalos Covarrubias testified. Defense counsel alleged
"the State has not made a prima facie case that there
was an intent to commit a theft or that an assault with
bodily injury was committed." Counsel added:
And the reason I emphasize that element of the assault with
bodily injury is to distinguish the robbery second from a
robbery third. The code doesn't give much direction, but
the jury instructions that we would propose contain the
element of the State requiring to show not just an assault
but an assault that caused an injury . . . .
did not contend the State had to prove her client intended to
cause the bodily injury. The court denied the motions,
finding the State's evidence generated a jury question.
The jury returned a guilty verdict on robbery in the second
degree. See Iowa Code § 711.1, 711.3. Avalos