Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. Voigts

Court of Appeals of Iowa

October 23, 2019

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
DEVONTEZ DAVID VOIGTS, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Story County, Bethany Currie, Judge.

         Devontez Voigts appeals his criminal convictions following a jury trial.

          Mark C. Smith, State Appellate Defender (until withdrawal), and Robert P. Ranschau, Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Louis S. Sloven, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

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

          MULLINS, JUDGE.

         Devontez Voigts appeals his convictions of second-degree sexual abuse and willful injury causing bodily injury.[1] He argues the district court erred in overruling his challenge to the racial composition of the jury pool, which violated his constitutional right to a jury drawn from a fair cross-section of the community. Our review is de novo. See State v. Lilly, 930 N.W.2d 293, 298 (Iowa 2019).

         Criminal defendants are constitutionally entitled to a jury drawn from a fair cross-section of the community. State v. Plain, 898 N.W.2d 801, 821 (2017). When a defendant lodges a fair cross-section objection, the defendant has the burden to establish a prima facie case by showing:

(1) that the group alleged to be excluded is a "distinctive" group in the community; (2) that the representation of this group in venires from which juries are selected is not fair and reasonable in relation to the number of such persons in the community; and (3) that this underrepresentation is due to systematic exclusion of the group in the jury-selection process.

Id. at 821-22 (2017) (quoting Duren v. Missouri, 439 U.S. 357, 364 (1979)).

         On September 10, 2018, the day before trial was to commence, Voigts, an African American, filed a motion challenging the racial composition of the jury pool. In the motion, Voigts referenced "race reports" received from the jury clerk showing the racial composition from jury pools in recent years and a racial demographical population estimate from July 2017. The population estimate provided African Americans comprised 2.9 percent of the county population. The race reports for 2017 provided, of the 3275 jurors summoned, thirty-nine, or 1.19 percent, identified as African American. The race reports for 2018, including the "jury panels potentially being brought into court" the week of trial, showed, of the 2913 jurors summoned, thirty-two, or 1.09 percent, identified as African American.[2]

         The court heard the motion the morning of trial. As to systematic exclusion, the parties and court discussed whether "the jury pool being drawn from the voter registration and motor vehicle operator's list is systematically excluding African-Americans." See Iowa Code § 607A.22(1) (2018). The State took the position that there was insufficient data to reach a conclusion of systematic exclusion. The court specifically requested from defense counsel "statistics that . . . voter registration and driver's license lists somehow impact the African-American community more harshly." Counsel was unable to present the requested statistics, but instead argued incarceration rates among African Americans and loss of voting rights results in systematic exclusion. Counsel did not provide any statistics to support his position. Counsel made no request to be allowed an opportunity to compile such information. See Plain, 898 N.W.2d at 828 (holding defendants are entitled "access to the information necessary to prove a prima facie case").

         While the court agreed that significant portions of the entire adult population are excluded from voter registration records and the motor vehicle operators list, the court ultimately ruled it could not "find any evidence that the two lists, the voter registration list and the motor vehicle operator's list, systematically exclude African Americans from being on jury pools" and Voigts therefore failed to establish "a prima facie violation of the fair cross-section requirement."

         Upon our de novo review, we agree with the district court that Voigts failed to meet his burden to show that the jury-selection process "practices have produced underrepresentation of a minority group." See Lilly, 930 N.W.2d at 308. He provided no evidence, other than ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.