from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Scott D.
Rosenberg (sentencing) and Robert B. Hanson (trial), Judges,
and Becky Goettsch (preliminary hearing), District Associate
Ockenfels appeals his convictions for disarming a peace
officer and assault on a peace officer while using or
displaying a dangerous weapon.
Hobbs, West Des Moines, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Timothy M. Hau, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Doyle, P.J., and Tabor and Schumacher, JJ.
Ockenfels appeals his convictions after a jury found him
guilty on four charges-driving while barred, eluding law
enforcement, disarming a police officer, and assault on a
police officer while using or displaying a dangerous weapon.
The State alleged that Ockenfels fled from a Des Moines
police officer after an attempted traffic stop. Ockenfels
crashed his car after a high-speed chase. He then took off on
foot refusing to comply with the officer's commands to
stop. When the officer caught up with Ockenfels, it is
alleged Ockenfels punched the officer twice in the face,
grabbed a Taser from his holster, and threatened to shoot the
officer. Ockenfels raises issues of insufficient evidence and
ineffective assistance of trial counsel. We affirm.
first address Ockenfels's challenge to the sufficiency of
the evidence supporting his convictions for disarming a peace
officer and assault on a peace officer while using or
displaying a dangerous weapon, which we review for correction
of errors at law. See State v. Benson, 919 N.W.2d
237, 241 (Iowa 2018). In doing so, we view the evidence in
the light most favorable to the State and affirm the verdict
if substantial evidence supports it. See id.
Substantial evidence is evidence that could convince a
rational factfinder of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
reviewing a sufficiency-of-the-evidence claim, we first look
to the jury instructions. See State v. Nitcher, 720
N.W.2d 547, 556 (Iowa 2006) ("Because Nitcher does not
assert the law in the instructions was incorrect, but rather
the evidence did not support the jury's finding, we will
examine his claims in view of the instructions the district
court gave to the jury."). The jury instructions state
that Ockenfels is guilty of disarming a peace officer if he
removed or attempted to remove a dangerous weapon from a
person he knew was a police officer while the officer was
acting under a lawful duty. The instructions further state
that Ockenfels is guilty of assault on a peace officer while
using or displaying a dangerous weapon if he used or
displayed a dangerous weapon while assaulting a person he
knew was a police officer. The court also instructed the jury
that "[a] tazer is a dangerous weapon."
appeal, Ockenfels does not challenge the lack of evidence on
any specific element of the crimes. Substantial evidence
supports the jury's finding that Ockenfels committed the
crimes of disarming a peace officer and assault on a peace
officer while using or displaying a dangerous weapon.
Ockenfels characterizes the evidence of his guilt as
"inconsistent," noting discrepancies in the
testimony at trial and challenging some inferences he
presumes the jury made to find him guilty. But
"[i]nherent in our standard of review of jury verdicts
in criminal cases is the recognition that the jury [is] free
to reject certain evidence and credit other evidence."
State v. Nitcher, 720 N.W.2d 547, 556 (Iowa 2006).
Although perhaps another factfinder may have judged the
evidence differently, substantial evidence supports the
jury's verdicts when viewed in the light most favorable
to the State.
turn to Ockenfels's claims of ineffective assistance of
counsel,  which we review de novo. See State v.
Clay, 824 N.W.2d 488, 494 (Iowa 2012). To succeed,
Ockenfels must show his counsel failed to perform an
essential duty and prejudice resulted. See State v.
Graves, 668 N.W.2d 860');">668 N.W.2d 860, 869 (Iowa 2003). Unless the
defendant proves both elements, the ineffective-assistance
claim fails. See Clay, 824 N.W.2d at 495. Although
we ordinarily preserve ineffective-assistance claims for
postconviction-relief proceedings to allow for full
development of the record, we will address them on direct
appeal when the record is adequate. See State v.
Virgil, 895 N.W.2d 873, 879 (Iowa 2017).
first claims his trial counsel was ineffective by failing to
move to suppress evidence based on an invalid traffic stop,
arguing the officer's stated reason for initiating the
stop is false. Even assuming the officer's reason for
attempting the stop was unjustified, Ockenfels responded by
committing the crime of eluding, which provided an
independent ground for his arrest. See State v.
Dawdy, 533 N.W.2d 551, 555-56 (Iowa 1995) (discussing
and approving the new-crime exception to the
fruit-of-the-poisonous-tree doctrine outlined in United
States v. Dawdy, 46 F.3d 1427, 1430-31 (8th
Cir. 1995), cert. denied, 516 U.S. 872 (1995));
see also generally State v. Pranschke, No. 16-1104,
2017 WL 2461556, at *4-6 (Iowa Ct. App. June 7, 2017)
(detailing the evolution of the attenuation doctrine and the
new-crime exception in concluding counsel did not breach a
duty by failing to move to suppress "evidence" of
the defendant's assault on a police officer who entered
her home illegally).
also contends trial counsel was ineffective by failing to
object to incidents of prosecutorial misconduct when the
prosecutor referenced Ockenfels's boxing
experience. The first incident occurred during cross-
examination, when, the prosecutor asked Ockenfels, "And
the little we know about boxing, it's not to help people,
is it? . . . It's actually to hurt people;
correct?" The questions were in response to
Ockenfels's testimony on direct examination when
Ockenfels testified that he was an experienced boxer and the
injury to the officer's face did not appear to appear to
be "from a hit" because he knows "what a hit
looks like." Ockenfels also testified that he knows how
to hit people, inferring that if he had punched the officer,
the officer would have suffered a greater injury. The second
incident occurred during closing argument. The prosecutor
stated, "[Ockenfels] likes to box is what he said. That
is violent. So when [his counsel] stands up there and says my
guy is not-there's no violence in him, take it for what
it's worth. I'll let you make that
not find counsel was ineffective by failing to object to
either incident. Even assuming the prosecutor's questions
and remarks were improper, we cannot find they prejudiced