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State v. Goodjoint

Court of Appeals of Iowa

April 17, 2019

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
LB DEONTAY GOODJOINT, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Karen A. Romano, Judge.

          Elena M. Greenberg of Greenberg & Hurd, LLP, Des Moines, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Kyle Hanson, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Tabor and Bower, JJ.

          POTTERFIELD, Presiding Judge.

         The defendant appeals his conviction for possession of a firearm by a felon. REVERSED AND REMANDED FOR DISMISSAL.

         LB Goodjoint appeals his conviction for possession of a firearm as a felon. Goodjoint challenges the sufficiency of the evidence to support the determination he was previously convicted of a qualifying felony. We review challenges to the sufficiency of the evidence for correction of errors at law. State v. Romer, 832 N.W.2d 169, 174 (Iowa 2013).

         Iowa Code section 724.26 (2016) makes it a crime for a person who was previously convicted of a felony to knowingly carry a firearm. The word "felony," as used in section 724.26, is statutorily defined as

any offense punishable in the jurisdiction where it occurred by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year, but does not include any offense, other than an offense involving a firearm or explosive, classified as a misdemeanor under the laws of the state and punishable by a term of imprisonment of two years or less.

Iowa Code § 724.25.

         The State relied upon Goodjoint's 2013 conviction for carrying weapons as the predicate felony. At the jury trial, the State called Whitney Mann, who was Goodjoint's probation officer in 2013. Through her testimony, the State introduced as an exhibit an order from Goodjoint's 2013 case that showed the court revoked his deferred judgment and adjudged him guilty of carrying a concealed weapon, in violation of Iowa Code section 724.4(1). The State also called the two police officers who arrested Goodjoint in connection with the present crime. When asked if he had learned "that Goodjoint has been convicted of a felony or predicate offense for the offense of felon in possession of a firearm," Officer Shawn Morgan responded, "Yes." Similarly, Officer Brandon Holtan was asked if he learned Goodjoint "was previously convicted of the offense of carrying weapons," and responded, "Yes." The State offered no evidence regarding the specifics of the 2013 conviction before it rested.

         Goodjoint moved for a judgment of acquittal, [1] arguing the State failed to prove Goodjoint had been previously convicted of a felony or qualifying offense under section 724.26. As Goodjoint argued, carrying weapons-pursuant to section 724.4(1)-is not a felony. The section provides:

Except as otherwise provided in this section, a person who goes armed with a dangerous weapon concealed on or about the person, or who, within the limits of any city, goes armed with a pistol or revolver, or any loaded firearm of any kind, whether concealed or not, or who knowingly carries or transports in a vehicle a pistol or revolver, commits an aggravated misdemeanor.

Iowa Code § 724.4(1) (emphasis added). Aggravated misdemeanors are generally placed "outside the sweep of the possession-of-a-firearm-by-a-felon statute." State v. Buchanan, 604 N.W.2d 667, 669 (Iowa 2000). Thus, in order to establish that Goodjoint's conviction for carrying weapons forms the underlying basis for the felon-in-possession-of-a-firearm charge, the State had to prove the carrying-weapons conviction involved a firearm. See id. (interpreting section 724.25(1) "as a legislative directive that those committing ...


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