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State v. Ackiss

Court of Appeals of Iowa

September 25, 2019

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
SANTENIO DELAMIKE ACKISS, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Scott D. Rosenberg, Judge.

         Santenio Ackiss appeals his convictions of child endangerment resulting in bodily injury and child endangerment.

          Mark C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, (until withdrawal), and Melinda J. Nye, Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Zachary Miller, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

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

          VAITHESWARAN, PRESIDING JUDGE

         Following a bench trial, the district court found Santenio Ackiss guilty of child endangerment resulting in bodily injury and child endangerment. On appeal, Ackiss contends (1) the court's findings are not supported by substantial evidence, (2) the court impermissibly imposed court costs on charges for which he was acquitted, and (3) the court failed to make a determination of his ability to pay restitution.

         I. Sufficiency of the Evidence

         The crime of child endangerment requires the State to prove several elements, including the following: the person "[k]nowingly acts in a manner that creates a substantial risk to a child or minor's physical, mental or emotional health or safety." Iowa Code § 726.6(1)(a) (2017). "A person who commits child endangerment resulting in bodily injury to a child or minor . . . is guilty of a class 'D' felony." Id. § 726.6(6). "A person who commits child endangerment that is not subject to penalty [under enumerated provisions] is guilty of an aggravated misdemeanor." Id. § 726.6(7).

         Ackiss challenges the State's proof on the "knowingly" element. "Knowingly" means acting with knowledge that one's conduct creates a substantial risk to a child's safety. State v. Leckington, 713 N.W.2d 208, 214 (Iowa 2006). "[T]he definition of substantial risk in the context of child endangerment means the very real possibility of danger to a child's physical health or safety." State v. Schlitter, 881 N.W.2d 380, 390 (Iowa 2016) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). "The risk does not have to be likely, just real or identifiable." Id.

         The district court made the following pertinent findings. A woman called 911 about "a domestic dispute." A Des Moines police officer met the woman at a street corner and observed her outside her vehicle. He also observed "a broken passenger side window on the right rear passenger side sliding door." The woman informed the officer that Ackiss "broke, or as she described it, 'busted' the rear passenger side window of the minivan, " injuring "[t]wo children . . . when the glass was shattered." The children "present at that time appeared to be scared." "[S]ome of the children had shattered glass on their clothes and hair." "[T]he window was broken with force such that glass entered the vehicle shattering, and hitting and/or falling upon children in the vehicle."

         Ackiss contends

the record does not support a rational inference that [he] broke the glass-whether by hitting the window or slamming the door-with the knowledge that it would likely shatter and spray glass throughout the van and into the ...

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