Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. Hanslip

Court of Appeals of Iowa

January 9, 2019

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
MARC AARON HANSLIP, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Woodbury County, Duane E. Hoffmeyer, Judge.

         The defendant appeals his convictions for being a felon in possession of a firearm and possession of an offensive weapon, both enhanced by the defendant's status as an habitual offender.

          Rees Conrad Douglas, Sioux City, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Tyler J. Buller, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Considered by Vogel, P.J., McDonald, J., and Blane, S.J. [*]

          BLANE, SENIOR JUDGE.

         Marc Aaron Hanslip appeals his convictions for being a felon in possession of a firearm and possession of an offensive weapon, both enhanced by the defendant's status as an habitual offender. He contends the trial court erred in overruling his hearsay objections at trial and in denying his counsel's motion to withdraw from representation due to an alleged conflict of interest. On our review, we find the trial court did not err and affirm the convictions.

         I. Factual background.

         On the afternoon of March 17, 2017, a man later identified as Thaddeus Keefer called Sioux City police to report there was a man carrying a shotgun, wearing a blue hat and blue shirt, pounding on the door to his residence.[1] Within minutes, police responded to the residence and saw two men and a woman standing near a silver, four-door Chevrolet Impala parked in front of the residence.[2]One of the men was Marc Hanslip. He was wearing a blue hat and blue shirt. A police officer described Hanslip as wearing "all blue."

         Two officers went to the residence and spoke with Keefer about his call to 911. He was "very fearful" and "[d]idn't want to show his face in public." As one officer testified, Keefer "was definitely scared for that particular moment in time." He was "very hesitant," "stuttering," "looking over his shoulder," and "very excited." As another officer testified, "[The man] was very excited. Pacing around. Kept making sure that nobody could see him talking to [the officers]. Fidgeting a lot. Very erratic behavior." "Before he had a chance to calm down," Keefer told officers he was afraid of the man with the shotgun and did not want to let him inside the house.

         At trial, Hanslip objected based on hearsay to the officers testifying to what Keefer told them, since the State did not produce Keefer at trial. The court overruled the objections based on the excited utterance exception urged by the prosecutor as well as "existing physical state or presence as exceptions."[3] The officer was then permitted to answer, "While [he] was still upset and in an excited condition," Keefer told officers the shotgun was "smaller" and had "white tape wrapped around . . . where you would hold the shotgun at." Keefer identified the man in blue-Hanslip-as the man with the shotgun.

         While officers were talking to Keefer, other officers also approached the three persons by the Impala. They obtained a written consent to search the Impala from Ms. Chavez.[4] Officers observed a large box of shotgun shells in plain view on top of three bags in the back seat. Officers then decided to obtain a search warrant to further search the vehicle and the bags. Once the search warrant was obtained, they seized and later searched the three bags at the police station. Inside one of the bags, officers found Hanslip's social security card, his wallet, and a small-barreled shotgun with white tape on the handle as described by Keefer. The barrel of the shotgun measured fourteen and seven-eighths inches long. At the time, Hanslip admitted to the officers that the bags and the shotgun were his. But at trial, Hanslip testified that he had lied to police about the shotgun and denied ownership and possession.

         II. Procedural background.

         On March 22, 2017, the county attorney filed a supplemental trial information charging Hanslip in count I with being a felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of Iowa Code section 724.26(1) (2017); in count II, possession of an offensive weapon, in violation of section 724.3; and count III, possession of a controlled substance, in violation of section 124.401(5). The county attorney also filed a trial information alleging an habitual-offender enhancement applied to counts I and II, under section 902.8. On July 20, Hanslip through his counsel filed a written guilty plea to count III, possession of a controlled substance. Trial on the other two charges was set for July 25.

         On July 24, defense counsel filed a motion to withdraw as Hanslip's attorney. The motion asserted that the prosecutor had notified defense counsel the same day of an intent to call Stephanie Chavez as a rebuttal witness if Hanslip testified.[5] The motion was based on Chavez being represented by an attorney from the same public defender office as Hanslip's attorney, although her charges did not arise out of the events and were not related to the charges Hanslip faced. Hanslip's attorney asserted that a conflict existed under Iowa Rules of Professional Conduct 32:1.7 and 32:1.10. Hanslip's counsel argued the remedy to the potential conflict was to prohibit the State from calling Chavez as a rebuttal witness. Hanslip also refused to further waive his right to speedy trial. The court held what is sometimes referred to as a Watson[6] hearing on July 24 and, immediately following the hearing, ordered the public defender representing Chavez be removed from representing her and Hanslip's attorney to have no contact with Chavez's file in the public defender office. The court rejected Hanslip's counsel's alternative to bar the State from calling Chavez in rebuttal.

         On July 25, trial commenced and Hanslip stipulated to the prior convictions that supported the habitual-offender enhancements. During the trial, before Hanslip testified, counsel again raised the conflict issue, renewed the motion to withdraw, and again asserted the issue be resolved by barring the State from calling Chavez as a rebuttal witness. The court denied the renewed motion and reaffirmed its earlier ruling. Hanslip testified and denied ownership or possession of the shotgun. Chavez testified in rebuttal, where the State asked just four questions. When asked whether the shotgun was hers, she answered, "No, it is not."

         On July 26, the jury found Hanslip guilty of felon in possession of a firearm and possession of an offensive weapon. On August 4, Hanslip's counsel filed motions in arrest of judgment and for new trial, raising the hearsay rulings and the attorney conflict or withdrawal issue. On September 6, the court issued its ruling and denied the post-trial motions. The court later sentenced Hanslip as an habitual offender on counts I and II to two concurrent terms of fifteen years and on count III to seven days with credit for time served. Hanslip timely filed his notice of appeal.

         III. Discussion.

         A. Whether the district court erred in overruling defense counsel's hearsay objections based on the excited utterance exception.

         Standard of Review. There is a question as to what standard of review applies. Our supreme court has said, "We review hearsay rulings for correction of errors at law and will reverse the admission of hearsay evidence as prejudicial unless the contrary is shown. We review all other evidentiary rulings for an abuse of discretion." State v. Dudley, 856 N.W.2d 668, 675 (Iowa 2014) (citations omitted). But in Dudley, when specifically discussing the admissibility of an excited utterance, the supreme court stated, "We review the admissibility of an excited utterance for an abuse of discretion." Id. at 680. Since excited utterance is an exception to excluding hearsay testimony, it is unclear why there is a difference in the standard of review. The supreme court mentioning both standards of review in Dudley as applying to the hearsay/excited utterance admissibility issue that we must address in this appeal leaves room for confusion. Yet, in subsequent cases, the supreme court has applied the rule that hearsay rulings-including whether a statement falls within an exception to the hearsay rule-are reviewed for correction of errors at law. See State v. Russell, 893 N.W.2d 307, 314 (Iowa 2017) ("Hearsay rulings, however, are reviewed for errors at law. This standard of review extends to determining whether statements come within an exception to the general prohibition on hearsay evidence." (citation omitted)); State v. Smith, 876 N.W.2d 180, 184 (Iowa 2016) (discussing excited utterance evidence the court maintained, "Although we normally review evidence-admission decisions . . . for an abuse of discretion, ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.