from the Iowa District Court for Mills County, James S.
Wilson appeals multiple criminal convictions and the
C. Smith, State Appellate Defender (until withdrawal), and
Vidhya K. Reddy, Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Louis S. Sloven, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Mullins and May, JJ.
Wilson appeals his convictions, following a jury trial, of
one count of sexual abuse in the third degree, two counts of
lascivious acts with a child, and two counts of indecent
contact with a child. He also challenges the sentences
imposed. He argues (1) the court abused its discretion in
denying his motions for a mistrial and new trial upon
complaints about the presentation of prior-bad-acts evidence;
(2) his trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance in
failing to object to a jury instruction; (3) his stipulation
to a prior conviction for sentencing-enhancement purposes was
not entered knowingly and voluntarily; (4) the provision in
the sentencing order requiring him to pay court costs,
including attorney fees, fails to conform with the oral
pronouncement of sentence or, alternatively, was improperly
ordered without a determination of his reasonable ability to
pay; and (5) the court's entry of a lifetime sentencing
no-contact order was illegal.
2016, Wilson was charged with a host of crimes for acts
allegedly occurring between January 2015 and June
2016. In March 2017, Wilson moved in limine for
exclusion of evidence concerning, among other things, his
prior conviction. At a subsequent pretrial conference, the
State agreed to not present said evidence unless the defense
opened the door. A trial ultimately commenced on February 27,
2018. Prior to trial, Wilson's motion in
limine was revisited, and the court sustained Wilson's
motion as to his prior conviction subject to Wilson not
opening the door.
trial, the complaining witness testified that, after she made
allegations of sexual abuse against Wilson, he stated to her,
"[T]hanks, now you've got me going to jail
again." At the next recess, Wilson moved for a mistrial
based on the testimony. The court offered to provide the jury
a curative instruction. Wilson declined, taking the position
it would draw more attention to the testimony. The court
overruled the motion. The second day of trial, the State
amended its trial information to charge Wilson with one count
of third-degree sexual abuse, two counts of lascivious acts
with a child, and two counts of indecent contact with a
child. The jury began its deliberations on February 28 at
1:26 p.m. The jury deliberated for the remainder of the day
and was excused at 5:10 p.m. Deliberations resumed on March 1
at 8:00 a.m. The jury ultimately reached a verdict at 11:14
a.m., finding Wilson guilty as charged. Thereafter, Wilson
stipulated he was previously convicted on a charge of sexual
abuse in the third degree.
to sentencing, Wilson filed a combined motion for a new trial
and in arrest of judgment. In the motion, defense counsel
noted the complaining witness's testimony concerning
Wilson going to jail "again," and stated she spoke
with the jury foreperson, who "confirmed that the jury
heard this statement and considered it during their
deliberations." The State resisted. The State submitted
an affidavit of the jury foreperson, which provided:
1.The discussion I had with defense counsel was misstated in
the Motion for a New Trial.
2. The jurors heard N.W.'s testimony about the defendant
going to "jail again," but the discussion during
deliberations about that comment was brief and no weight was
placed on that statement in reaching the verdicts.
3. I, personally, reminded the rest of the jurors that her
comment about him being in jail before doesn't matter to
our deliberations and that he could have been in jail for
something else. I stated something to the effect of, "We
can't even take that into account because we don't
know what he might have been in jail for previously." We
never brought up the possibility that it could been for a sex
court heard the motion at the time set for sentencing.
Following arguments of ...