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State v. Sallis

Court of Appeals of Iowa

January 23, 2019

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
JAMODD SALLIS, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, David P. Odekirk, Judge.

         Jamodd Sallis appeals from his convictions and sentences for possession of a firearm by a felon, being a habitual offender, and carrying weapons.

          Mark C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Brenda J. Gohr, Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.

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

          Considered by Vogel, C.J., Tabor, J., and Danilson, S.J. [*]

          TABOR, JUDGE.

         Jamodd Sallis appeals his convictions and sentence following jury verdicts finding him guilty of possession of a firearm by a felon while being a habitual offender and carrying weapons. He argues the State presented insufficient evidence to prove he possessed a firearm. He also contends the district court applied the wrong standard in ruling on his motion for new trial. Lastly, Sallis challenges the district court's determination of his reasonable ability to pay restitution.

         We find substantial evidence supported the verdicts. But the district court did not apply the weight-of-the-evidence standard in ruling on the new-trial motion. Accordingly, we affirm the verdicts but reverse the ruling on the new-trial motion and remand with directions. We also remand on the restitution issue because the district court abused its discretion in deciding Sallis had the ability to pay without knowing the total amount of restitution owed.

         I. Facts and Prior Proceedings.

         Jennie Hansel and her mother, Cathy Pingel, [1] met Sallis when he loaded items into their car at a home-improvement store. Sallis also helped them unload the car at Hansel's home later that day. Sallis gave his phone number to Hansel in case she needed assistance in the future.

         Around the same time, Cathy was serving as the executor of her friend's estate. The beneficiary of the estate was the friend's minor son. After an auction, the estate would place the proceeds in a trust for the beneficiary. Due to tension between Cathy and the beneficiary, Cathy decided to hire security for the auction. Cathy hired Sallis and his security company.

         At the time Cathy and her husband, Tom, hired Sallis they did not know he was a convicted felon. Sallis drafted a contract between himself as the chief executive officer of Secure-All and Cathy on behalf of the estate. The contract terms included paying "armed" security guards $20 per hour and "unarmed" security guards $15 per hour. The contract did not define "armed" but specified the presence of "at least one armed officer at all times during the course of this contract."

         Sallis's wife delivered security supplies, including a .40 caliber semiautomatic pistol and ammunition, from their house to the auction site. Over the span of three days, October 12 through 14, Sallis and a team of nine other individuals provided around-the-clock security. Cathy and other witnesses saw Sallis in possession of a firearm. Cathy recalled Sallis concealed it in his waistband or holster. Sallis and his team were present for the October 14 auction. The auctioneer directed Sallis and his men to conceal their firearms. During a discussion with Sallis at the auction, Tom saw Sallis remove a firearm from under his shirt. Tom recognized the pistol as requiring .40 caliber ammunition because Tom owned a firearm of the same caliber.

         After the auction, Sallis provided a timesheet to Cathy including an hourly-rate breakdown of charges for armed and unarmed guards. The sheet listed Desmond Rogers, Ramon Cooper, and Sallis at $20 an hour, or, in other words, as armed guards. Sallis was listed at the armed rate for all three days.

         In the days before the auction, Cathy rented a car for Sallis to drive back and forth from the auction site. On the Sunday following the auction, Cathy and Tom went to Sallis's house to retrieve the rental car. They found Sallis and his wife loading the rental car with personal items. Sallis told the Pingels to leave, and they did. During this confrontation, Cathy was on the phone with her daughter, Hansel. Hansel called the ...


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