from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Nicholas Scott,
District Associate Judge.
Bynum appeals following his conviction for falsely reporting
a criminal offense.
C. Meyer, Cedar Rapids, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Sharon K. Hall, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Tabor and Bower, JJ.
Potterfield, Presiding Judge.
Bynum appeals following his conviction for falsely reporting
a criminal offense, in violation of Iowa Code section
718.6(1) (2016). Bynum asserts he was denied an impartial
jury of his peers; the court abused its discretion in
allowing prior-bad-acts evidence and photographs of firearms
used during the police response; and the court erred in
denying Bynum's requested jury instruction, which stated
carrying weapons is not a crime if the person has a permit.
Finding no abuse of discretion in the trial court's
denial of Bynum's motions for mistrial or its evidentiary
and instructional rulings, we affirm.
Background Facts and Proceedings.
March of 2016, Bynum was living with his girlfriend Pamela
Haskins in Cedar Rapids. They had known each other for years
and share a son, who was about seventeen years old at the
time. Haskins also has two older sons, whom Bynum knew.
March 9, Haskins and Bynum had a disagreement ending with
Bynum pushing Haskins against a wall before he left the
residence. That evening, Haskins called police to report a
March 10, Haskins was at home with her youngest son and her
friend, Judy, when Haskins's older son stopped by with
his daughter. About an hour after the older son arrived, the
younger son was going to drive Judy to her home. When
Haskins, Judy, and the teen stepped out on the front porch,
spotlights were activated and police officers yelled at them
to put their hands in the air. The teen was ordered to turn
around, walk backwards, and get down on his knees. The older
son came out of the house holding his daughter in his arms,
and he too was ordered away from the house. Officers checked
the house; no guns were found.
Shannon Aguero explained to Haskins they were acting on a
phone call and showed Haskins the phone number. Haskins
recognized the number as belonging to Bynum.
call to which police responded came in at about 10:17 p.m.
Bynum called the police nonemergency number to report that
two males in a Suburban had pulled up to Haskins's
address, parked over the sidewalk, and jumped out of the
vehicle carrying a handgun and a rifle. He reported the men
went up to the door, knocked, and entered the house. Bynum
provided his phone number but not his name. Bynum denied
knowing who lived at that address and denied having
previously seen that vehicle.
Aguero made contact with Bynum on March 24. Bynum initially
denied any knowledge of a phone call to police but later
admitted to making the report on the nonemergency line. Bynum
told Officer Aguero that he was in the area near
Haskins's home when he saw the Suburban drive by and
observed a male waving a gun in his direction. Bynum said he
knew where the vehicle was going so he reported that address
and followed the vehicle to Haskins's home. Bynum
identified the person waving the gun as Haskins's older
son. Bynum said he did not provide the man's name or his
own name because he did not want to get anyone in trouble and
he did not want to be a snitch.
was charged with making a false report to law enforcement.
The State sought a preliminary ruling on whether the court
would allow the guns used by officers in responding to the
dispatch to be shown to the jury. Bynum objected on relevance
grounds. The trial court ruled it would allow photographs of
the guns used by officers but not the actual guns. The court
determined the photos would be relevant "to show the
jury the chain of events as they occurred and actions that
were initiated with that 911 [sic] phone call."
trial started defense counsel made a record about the jury
And I understand that the case law-I think the most recent-
one of the most recent cases to deal with it is State v.
Kelvin Plain, Sr. case, which I did write down the
citation for, 898 N.W.2d 801, discusses a criminal
defendant's Sixth Amendment right to an impartial jury
and to a jury drawn from a fair cross-section of the
community, and that deals primarily with the pool as a whole.
I believe that we had 35 members in the pool. There were at
least two of those that were African-American. So I believe
that the pool met the standard, because according to my quick
research of, I believe it was the 2016 census information for
Linn County, Iowa, the percentage of citizens claiming to be
black or African-American was 5.2 percent. I believe we met
that standard with the 2 out of 35. I did, however, want to
make the record clear regarding the initial jury that did
include someone who was African-American and then due to the
circumstances we then did not have anyone up on the panel who
was African-American. I understand we don't get to pick
our jurors. We don't get to decide who comes into the
box, but I did want to make that clear for the purposes of
the record. And I understand that it was no fault of this
court that led to that irregular procedure, but I would
assert that the due to the low number of jurors that were
called in, that led to the circumstances where we had to
reshuffle everything and that then deprived Mr. Bynum the
opportunity to have someone of his heritage in our petit
jury. So I would allege that violates the due process and
request a mistrial on that ground.
prosecutor acknowledged the events occurred as the defense
asserted. The court ruled:
At this point I'm going to overrule the due process
objection. Certainly you've made your record for appeal.
And I would note on the 21 that we called up for the petit
jury I did not see anybody of African-American
heritage. There were two in the pool that you noted, but at
no time did they ever make it to the petit jury so that
record has been made.
trial, Haskins testified she and Bynum had a long-term,
on-and-off relationship. When an officer showed her the phone
number of the instigating call, she knew immediately it was
made by Bynum "because at that time that was his MO and
he was trying to do things to, not physically hurt me, but to
emotionally hurt me."
Aguero testified that she and other officers were dispatched
to Haskins's home based on Bynum's report of two
males entering the home, one with a handgun and one with a
long gun; the dispatch was a "code two" calling for
lights and sirens due to a reported threat to the life of
individuals. When officers arrived at the scene, dispatch
provided an update that there had been a call to the same
address the day before. Officer Aguero was not aware the
initial call came in on the nonemergency number. She
testified she believed a home invasion had occurred because
the report was of individuals with guns entering the
arrival, as the caller had stated, Officer Aguero observed a
Suburban parked at an angle in the driveway and across the
sidewalk. So she and several other officers parked down the
block and surrounded the house with weapons drawn. Officer
Aguero carried her patrol rifle instead of her handgun,
explaining it was easier to use at longer distances. As
people came out of the house, they were ordered to get down
and other officers went inside to clear the house. No
firearms were found.
cross-examination, Officer Aguero acknowledged the initial
call to dispatch did not claim anyone was in danger. She also
acknowledged it was not necessarily illegal for someone to
possess a handgun or ...