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State v. Francis

Court of Appeals of Iowa

June 5, 2019

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
DAVID ALAN FRANCIS, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Wapello County, Kirk A. Daily, District Associate Judge.

         Defendant appeals his conviction of operating while intoxicated, third offense.

          Ryan J. Mitchell of Orsborn, Milani, Mitchell, Goedken, Larson & Cox, P.C., Ottumwa, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Thomas E. Bakke, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Considered by Potterfield, P.J., Doyle, J., and Scott, S.J. [*]

          Scott, Senior Judge.

         David Francis appeals his conviction of operating while intoxicated (OWI), third offense. We find the district court did not abuse its discretion in determining certain evidence was not relevant and therefore not admissible. We determine there is substantial evidence in the record to support Francis's conviction. We conclude Francis has not shown he received ineffective assistance of counsel. We affirm Francis's conviction for OWI, third offense.

         I. Background Facts & Proceedings

         On April 24, 2017, Officer Jordan Staton of the Ottumwa Police Department was at the Countryside Bar & Grill on an unrelated matter when he observed Francis stumbling as he walked through the parking lot. Officer Staton stated, "I observed Mr. Francis enter his vehicle, shut the door and turn the vehicle on." He stated he could hear the car engine running and "I watched it turn on." When questioned further, Officer Staton stated he was 100 percent certain the engine was running.

         When Officer Staton approached the vehicle, he saw Francis had bloodshot and watery eyes, slow and slurred speech, and an odor of an alcoholic beverage. Francis failed field sobriety tests. He was arrested and taken to the police station, where a breath test showed Francis's alcohol level was .139, which is above the legal limit. Francis was charged with OWI, third offense, in violation of Iowa Code section 321J.2(1)(a) and(b) (2017).

         Prior to trial, Francis informed the court he intended to introduce evidence to show he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and at times had suicidal ideation. He claimed the evidence was relevant to show the reason he was sitting in his car without the intention of driving home. The State argued the evidence was irrelevant. The district court ruled:

Whether the defendant has PTSD or not, there's no credible evidence on that. So the term PTSD will not be used or admitted in any way, shape or form.
Whether the defendant has suicidal tendencies, again, is not relevant to the issue in this case and no mention of that shall be made.
The defendant may make mention that he's a veteran. He may also indicate that he left the bar because of issues he has as a veteran but to any extent further than that, those issues may not be ...

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