from the Iowa District Court for Woodbury County, Timothy T.
Jarman, District Associate Judge.
appeals her conviction and sentence for theft in the
C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Brenda J. Gohr,
Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Linda J. Hines, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Vaitheswaran and McDonald, JJ.
Stark appeals her conviction and sentence for the crime of
theft in the third degree. Stark argues the district court
applied the wrong standard when ruling on her motion for a
new trial. Also, she argues there was insufficient evidence
in the record to support a conviction of theft in the third
degree. Because the district court did not apply the wrong
standard when denying the motion for a new trial and there
was sufficient evidence to support the conviction, we affirm.
Background Facts and Proceedings
9, 2017, Stark and Brandon Grimes went to a Wal-Mart store at
approximately 4:15 in the morning with the intent to steal
merchandise and later sell the merchandise to make
"quick money." The pair entered the store with two
backpacks; each took a cart and then parted ways. The two
proceeded to walk around the store, select various items, and
place them in their carts but switched carts several times.
Stark attempted to leave the store with two car batteries in
her cart and was stopped by Wal-Mart employees, who asked to
see a receipt. One battery had been placed in a garbage bag;
another in a Walmart bag. At this point, Stark called Grimes,
who abandoned his cart, grabbed the two backpacks, and met up
with Stark. The two quickly left the store; Stark pushed out
the cart with the two batteries, and Grimes left with the two
backpacks. An asset protection employee followed them out to
the parking lot to gather license plate information. Later,
Wal-Mart's management and asset protection generated a
list of merchandise believed to have been stolen. The
merchandise was valued at $776.37, excluding tax.
was charged with theft in the third degree, in violation of
Iowa Code sections 714.1(1) and 714.2(3)
(2017). A jury trial was held on November 7 and 8.
At trial, Grimes testified the two entered Wal-Mart with
the intention to steal items and that the two did in fact
leave with items that neither of them paid for.After the first
day of trial, defense counsel moved for judgment of
acquittal. Defense counsel argued the evidence did not prove
the value necessary for theft in the third degree. Defense
counsel renewed the motion at the start of the second day of
trial. The jury entered a guilty verdict for theft in the
third degree. Stark filed a motion for new trial and a motion
in arrest of judgment. The State filed a resistance to both
motions and the court denied the same. Stark was convicted
and sentenced to 180 days in jail, 165 days of which were
suspended; placed on probation; and ordered to pay fines and
surcharges. Stark appeals.
Standard of Review
courts have wide discretion in deciding motions for new
trial." State v. Ellis, 578 N.W.2d 655, 659
(Iowa 1998). Claims that the district court failed to apply
the proper standard when ruling on a motion for new trial are
reviewed for correction of errors at law. State v.
Wells, 738 N.W.2d 214, 218 (Iowa 2007); see
also Iowa R. App. P. 6.907.
review challenges to the sufficiency of the evidence for
errors at law." State v. Rohm, 609 N.W.2d 504,
509 (Iowa 2000); see also Iowa R. App. P. 6.907.
"We will uphold a finding of guilt if 'substantial
evidence' supports the verdict. 'Substantial
evidence' is that upon which a rational trier of fact
could find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. .
. . [W]e view the evidence in the light most favorable to the
State." State v. Pace, 602 N.W.2d 764, 768
(Iowa 1999) (citations omitted).
Motion for ...