Thursday, May 07, 2009

Calhoun County Confidential

State v. Barnes, no. 08-0519 (Iowa Ct. App. May 6, 2009)

This story ought to be subtitled Siblings: We've All Got Them And They Suck.

Barnes owned some pigs that he'd placed on his sister and brother in law's acreage. A month later he abandoned the venture and moved to Kansas. After caring for the pigs for a month they were sold by the Bellocks. A year later Barnes returned from Kansas with his new flame Brandi Rex in tow. Shortly after that, a riding mower disappeared from the Bellocks acreage.

Barnes and Rex pawned the mower in Ames and he admitted to Rex that he'd stolen the mower from his sister, among other discussions about how the Bellocks done him dirt and how paybacks were in store.

Barnes was convicted of burglary and theft-second degree and he was sentenced to two fifteen year terms "boxcars" as the criminal cognoscenti say, sort of a bonus for his previous felonies. That's the value added part of the story.

Barnes argues that his trial counsel was ineffective for failure to request a jury instruction on the corroboration of accomplice testimony. It appeared from the record that Rex and another person were accomplices, and previous cases hold that one accomplice's testimony cannot corroborate another's.

In reversing, the court of appeals noted that there was corroborative evidence, thus triggering the requirement for the jury to decide the sufficiency of it.


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