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King v. Smith

Court of Appeals of Iowa

May 1, 2019

MICHAEL W. KING, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
GAGE M. SMITH, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Lawrence P. McLellan, Judge.

         Gage Smith appeals following the issuance of a final domestic abuse protective order against him. AFFIRMED.

          Gage M. Smith, Urbandale, pro se appellant.

          Michael W. King, Des Moines, pro se appellee.

          Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Doyle and Mullins, JJ.

          PER CURIAM.

         Gage Smith appeals following the issuance of a final domestic abuse protective order against him. He argues there is insufficient evidence to support the court's finding that he committed domestic abuse and, therefore, the court improperly issued the protective order. Because sufficient evidence supports the district court's finding that Smith committed domestic abuse against King, we affirm.

         Background Facts and Proceedings.

         This case originally involved four petitions for relief from domestic abuse filed pursuant to Iowa Code section 236.3 (2018). Gage Smith obtained temporary protective orders against his uncle, Michael King, and Nichole Teel[1] on April 2, 2018. Later that same day, King and Teel filed separate petitions for relief from domestic abuse seeking temporary protective orders against Smith. King's and Teel's petitions were set for hearing on April 11, 2018, and Smith's temporary protective orders were scheduled for hearing on April 17, 2018.

         The incident that led to the filing of the petitions occurred on the night of April 1, 2018. At the time King, Teel, and their children shared a house with Smith. That night, after spending a few days in Missouri, Smith returned home to find Caitlind, his former girlfriend, and Zach, one of King's acquaintances, at the house. Caitlind was leaving as Smith entered the house, but it is unclear from the record when or if Zach left at any point. Smith became upset because he did not want Zach in the house, and a disagreement ensued between Smith and King. King and Teel testified that Smith said he was going to get his gun and shoot them. King admitted he then shoved Smith out of the house and his hand came into contact with Smith's face. King further testified that he wanted Smith out of the house after Smith threatened to shoot them because he was concerned Smith would get his gun from the front porch, the portion of the house where Smith lived.

         Once out of the house, Smith called 911 to report the incident. Smith admitted in his testimony that he asked the 911 operator if he could shoot King and Teel because he wanted to know about the stand your ground law. The situation quickly defused when two Des Moines police officers arrived at the house and removed Smith's gun from his waistband, after Smith admitted he had the gun on his person during the entire incident.

         Hearings were held on April 11 and April 17, 2018.[2] With the patience of Job, the court carefully guided the parties, each representing themselves, through the admission of exhibits and the somewhat rambling and frequently irrelevant testimony. In an order dated April 17, 2018, the court stated that:

Based upon the evidence presented, the court finds by a preponderance ...

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