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State v. Hayer

Court of Appeals of Iowa

March 6, 2019

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
FREDERIC HAYER, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Poweshiek County, Rose Anne Mefford, District Associate Judge (motion to suppress), and Lucy J. Gamon, Judge (trial).

         Defendant appeals his convictions and sentence for carrying weapons, operating while intoxicated, and possession of marijuana.

          Robert G. Rehkemper of Gourley, Rehkemper & Lindholm P.L.C., West Des Moines, for appellant.

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

          Heard by Vogel, C.J., Vaitheswaran, J., and Gamble, S.J. [*]

          VOGEL, CHIEF JUDGE.

         Frederic Hayer appeals his convictions and sentence for the crimes of carrying weapons, operating while intoxicated, and possession of marijuana. He argues the district court's incorrect interpretation of Iowa's implied consent statute resulted in the inappropriate denial of his motion to suppress. Also, he asserts none of the jury's guilty verdicts were supported by sufficient evidence. We find the district court correctly interpreted and applied Iowa law and substantial evidence supports the jury's findings.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings

         On February 9, 2017, Deputy Matthew Maschmann was on routine patrol when he observed a vehicle in the middle of a gravel road with the driver's door ajar and an individual, later identified as Hayer, standing next to the vehicle. As the deputy approached, the individual returned to his vehicle and began driving in the opposite direction of the deputy. After running the license plate number and discovering the registration was expired, the deputy stopped the vehicle.

         The deputy approached the driver in the vehicle and detected an odor of "raw marijuana." He questioned the driver, Hayer, about the odor, and Hayer admitted he "had just smoked a little bit on the gravel road prior to [Deputy Maschmann] stopping him." Hayer stated he smoked "one hit" from a "one hitter." The deputy asked, "Do you feel the effects of [the marijuana]?" Hayer responded, "I mean, not-like, a little bit." Hayer also informed the deputy he had a concealed weapons permit, a loaded pistol in his pocket, and other firearms properly stored in his vehicle.

          Hayer consented to a search of his vehicle, during which the deputy found rolling papers but no marijuana. Hayer was placed under arrest for carrying weapons and was transported to the county jail. At the jail, Hayer consented to and fully cooperated in field sobriety tests and a preliminary breath test. Despite having displayed some clues of impairment, Deputy Maschmann determined Hayer passed the tests. However, based on Hayer's admission to having smoked some marijuana and the deputy's detection of the odor, the deputy then invoked implied consent and requested a urine sample. The urine tested positive for marijuana metabolites with a threshold level of sixty nanograms per milliliter.

         Hayer was charged with carrying weapons, an aggravated misdemeanor, in violation of Iowa Code section 724.4(1) (2017); operating while intoxicated, first offense, a serious misdemeanor, in violation of Iowa Code section 321J.2; and possession of marijuana, a serious misdemeanor, in violation of Iowa Code section 124.401(5). Hayer filed a motion to suppress arguing Deputy Maschmann illegally invoked implied consent and, therefore, Hayer's positive urine test result should be suppressed. The district court denied the motion after a hearing, held on June 15, 2017. Hayer renewed his motion on November 1, and it was again denied. A jury trial was held on November 14, and the jury returned a guilty verdict on each of the counts. Hayer received the following sentence: two days in jail, suspended, and one-year probation, as well as a fine of $315 for the carrying weapons conviction; two days in jail and a fine of $1250 for the operating while intoxicated conviction;[1] and two days in jail, suspended, and one-year probation, as well as a fine of $315 for the possession conviction.

         II. Standard of Review

         "We review rulings on questions of statutory interpretation for correction of errors at law." State v. Childs, 898 N.W.2d 177, 181 (Iowa 2017) (quoting State v. Iowa Dist. Ct., 889 N.W.2d 467, 470 (Iowa 2017)). Additionally, "[w]e review sufficiency-of-the-evidence claims for correction of errors at law. We uphold a verdict if substantial evidence supports it." State v. Quinn, 691 N.W.2d 403, 407 (Iowa 2005) (internal citations omitted). "Evidence is substantial if it would convince a rational fact finder that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt." State v. Biddle, 652 N.W.2d 191, 197 (Iowa 2002). "We review the evidence in the light most ...


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