from the Iowa District Court for Bremer County, Peter B.
Newell, District Associate Judge.
Ancell appeals his convictions of domestic abuse assault
causing bodily injury and possession of marijuana.
C. Smith, State Appellate Defender (until withdrawal), and
Brenda J. Gohr, Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Tyler J. Buller, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Vogel, C.J., and Mullins and Bower, JJ.
Ancell appeals his convictions, following a jury trial, of
domestic abuse assault causing bodily injury and possession of
marijuana. Ancell asserts the court erred in not granting him
a new trial based upon the State's late disclosure of
evidence, arguing that the late disclosure resulted in a
violation of his rights to due process and a fair trial.
Ancell also challenges the sufficiency of the evidence
supporting the jury's verdicts.
Background Facts and Proceedings
the evidence presented at trial, a rational jury could make
the following factual findings. Ancell and K.E. met in 1997.
At the time, K.E. lived in Cedar Falls and Ancell lived in
Minnesota. They initiated a friendship but they drifted apart
by the end of that year. K.E. messaged Ancell through social
media in late 2008 or early 2009, and they resumed their
friendship. At that time, K.E. had moved to Waverly and
Ancell continued to have an apartment in Minnesota. Ancell
also stayed with his parents at their farm in Oskaloosa. The
relationship between Ancell and K.E. progressed to a romantic
one. They began dating later in 2009.
majority of the relationship, K.E. and Ancell did not live in
the same location. In mid-2016, K.E. purchased a home in
Waverly. In August, Ancell began staying at the house. The
time Ancell spent at K.E.'s house varied. He was a
musician in a band and travelled to Des Moines at least once
per week for practice. He would stay with friends in the Des
Moines area during practice; otherwise, he spent a majority
of the week at K.E.'s house. They spent time together,
and while Ancell and K.E. did not always share a bed, the
relationship was a sexual one. Ancell had a key to the house
and was free to come and go as he pleased. He also kept
clothing and personal items at the house. Ancell did not pay
rent or utilities but made home improvements and repairs.
evening of May 19, 2017, Waverly police officers responded to
a possible domestic dispute at K.E.'s house. When
officers arrived, they heard raised voices from inside the
residence. The officers made contact with both Ancell and
K.E., speaking with them separately. K.E. told officers that
she and Ancell had argued in the house and he prevented her
from going downstairs. Ancell also poked her forcefully in
the chest. After she started screaming, he grabbed her face
by her mouth in order to quiet her. At some point, Ancell
pushed K.E. down. While K.E. was on the floor, crying and
screaming, Ancell sat or leaned on top of her with his knees
on her chest. K.E. made the excuse of needing to use the
restroom, at which point Ancell permitted her to do so. Once
in the restroom, K.E. texted a friend, who then called the
police. Officers noted marks on K.E.'s shoulder and jaw
and observed her chest was red. Photographs were taken of
K.E.'s neck, face, and upper-chest area.
told police that the argument was completely verbal and never
escalated into a physical one. Both Ancell and K.E. described
their relationship as a boyfriend-girlfriend one that had
lasted about eight years. Ancell gave police a Minnesota
driver's license but told them he was "pretty much
living" at K.E.'s house.
arrested Ancell for domestic abuse assault and transported
him to the Bremer County Law Enforcement Center. Before
transport, a male officer patted Ancell down before putting
him into the police car. When booked, Ancell gave K.E.'s
address as his home address. At the jail's booking area,
the arresting officer searched Ancell's belongings for a
house key and debit card K.E. had asked to have returned.
Ancell was present and his belongings were in a tote on the
counter of the booking area. The officer asked Ancell which
key was K.E.'s, and Ancell pointed out the correct one.
The officer removed K.E.'s key from Ancell's key ring
and then located and opened Ancell's money clip in order
to find the debit card. Ancell again verified the officer had
the correct card. Once the officer found the card, she placed
all of the contents back into the clip and returned the clip
to the tote with Ancell's belongings.
verifying Ancell wished to speak without an attorney present,
the officer interviewed Ancell. During the interview, Ancell
offered adamant denials of hurting K.E. in specific ways
without the officer asking him about specifics. When the
officer did ask questions pertaining to K.E.'s particular
accusations, such as preventing her from leaving or grabbing
her face, Ancell answered that he did not know, could not
recall, or was not sure. At the conclusion of the interview,
the officer left Ancell with a blank form to fill out if he
wished to provide a voluntary statement.
an inventory search by jail personnel, a small, clear baggie
with a substance was found in Ancell's money clip. Jail
personnel opened the baggie and, based on its odor, believed
it to be marijuana. The arresting officer returned to the
booking area and spoke with Ancell. Ancell recognized the
baggie and acknowledged that he knew it was marijuana and was
in his property. He told the officer that he had found the
baggie and intended to throw it away. Ancell was subsequently
arrested for possession.
was charged by trial information with one count of domestic
abuse assault causing bodily injury and one count of
possession of a controlled substance-marijuana. In August,
the court granted Ancell's motion to produce, which asked
for, among other things, "statements of the
Defendant," including any written statements in the
possession of the State; "all written or recorded
statements, signed or unsigned confessions"; and
"[a]ll materials known to the State, or which may become
known, . . . which is exculpatory in nature or favorable to
case proceeded to trial in March 2018. K.E. testified to the
romantic nature of her relationship with Ancell, with Ancell
spending most of his time at her house, though not on a
consistent schedule. She also testified about the incident
between herself and Ancell. She testified that it began as a
verbal argument that escalated to a physical altercation,
during which Ancell pushed her, grabbed her face to make her
look at him, poked her, threatened to break her phone, raised
his hand as if to hit her, prevented her from leaving, and
pushed her down onto the floor. While sitting on the floor,
Ancell put his hand over her mouth to stop her from crying
and screaming. Ancell also pushed K.E. down to a supine
position on the floor and kneeled ...