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In re W.E.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

August 7, 2019

IN THE INTEREST OF W.E., Minor Child, W.E., Minor Child, Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Christine Dalton Ploof, District Associate Judge.

         A juvenile challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting her adjudication as a delinquent child.

          Steven W. Stickle of Stickle Law Firm, P.L.C., Davenport, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Mary A. Triick, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Mullins and May, JJ.

          MAY, JUDGE.

         The juvenile court adjudicated W.E. as a delinquent. The court concluded W.E. committed acts constituting theft in the second degree and carrying weapons. On appeal, W.E. challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting her adjudication. We reverse.

         I. Background Facts

         On March 11, 2018, someone stole a 2008 Suzuki from a gas station. In the late night hours of March 14, police received reports of shots fired involving a vehicle similar to the stolen Suzuki. An officer spotted the Suzuki and gave chase. The Suzuki skidded and hit a building. The pursuing officer used her squad car to pin the Suzuki.

         When the Suzuki came to a halt, there were six people inside. The driver and front passenger quickly exited the car and fled.

         Four people had been in the backseat. Police detained three of them, including W.E., as they piled out of the car. A fourth person remained in the backseat and feigned unconsciousness. Police took all four into custody.

         Police located two loaded handguns on the backseat floor. Both were on the passenger side. One was in plain view. The other was under trash and clothing.

         The juvenile court held a delinquency adjudication hearing. The State submitted body-camera and dash-camera footage. Responding officers testified. The court concluded W.E. committed the offenses of theft in the second degree in violation of Iowa Code sections 714.1 and 714.2(2) (2018) and carrying weapons in violation of Iowa Code section 724.4(1). The court adjudicated W.E. as a delinquent child. W.E. appeals.

         II. ...


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