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State v. Hannegrefs

Court of Appeals of Iowa

June 19, 2019

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
TRICIA ANN HANNEGREFS, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Worth County, Rustin T. Davenport, Judge.

         A defendant appeals her conviction for driving while barred. REVERSED AND REMANDED.

          Scott M. Wadding of Kemp & Sease, Des Moines, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Richard Bennett, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

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

          TABOR, JUDGE.

         A jury convicted Tricia Hannegrefs of driving while barred, rejecting her compulsion defense. Hannegrefs contends her conviction must be reversed because the jurors were not instructed the State had the burden to disprove her claim she was compelled by her boyfriend to commit the driving offense. She argues her trial attorney's failure to object to the omission undermined her defense. Because we agree counsel breached a material duty by not challenging the flawed instructions and Hannegrefs was prejudiced, we reverse her conviction and remand for a new trial.

         I. Facts and Prior Proceedings

         Hannegrefs lived with Tim Abrahamson, her boyfriend of ten years. In September 2017, Abrahamson was fixing a motorcycle at the couple's home and decided to take it for a test drive. The bike broke down, forcing Abrahamson to walk back home. Hannegrefs recalled Abrahamson enlisting her help in picking up the motorcycle from the side of the road because "he couldn't drive the car and the bike." Knowing her license was barred, she nevertheless drove the car home at her boyfriend's insistence.

         After the motorcycle excursion, according to Hannegrefs, Abrahamson continued to pressure her to drive because they were late picking up his mother from the hospital, where she was recovering from recent brain surgery.

We had just gone to the motorcycle and were in a hurry to get down to Mom. And I know the car was almost dead on gas. And he just jumped in the passenger's side and said, "Let's go."
I'm like, "I don't want to drive."
He goes, "Let's go."
I go, "I don't want to drive."
And he's like, "You need to go. We have to go."

         Tricia testified she succumbed to Abrahamson's pressure because of his past assaultive behavior:

Q. Tricia, I don't want to embarrass you; but do you have difficulty sometimes with [Tim]? A. There has been a . . . domestic assault on me once before back in-I ...

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