The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

April 17, 2014

Court denies man's appeal in robbery

By Scott Levine Herald Associate Editor
The Clinton Herald

---- — CLINTON — The Iowa Court of Appeals has upheld a conviction of a man who robbed a Clinton pawn shop in 2012.

Darrell L. Thomas recently appealed his first-degree robbery conviction to the Iowa Court of Appeals. The court released its decision Wednesday upholding the conviction of the man who was found guilty in a Clinton County jury trial in January 2013.

Thomas was sentenced to as many as 25 years in prison for robbing the Library Pawn Shop. According to the jury’s verdict, Clinton County Attorney Mike Wolf proved that Thomas entered the pawn shop with a dangerous weapon with the intent to commit a theft.

At the time of the trial, defense attorney Bruce Ingham argued that the knife Thomas used to threaten the owner did not constitute as dangerous under Iowa statute.

In an appeal, Thomas conceded there was sufficient evidence to show he committed second-degree robbery but argued there was insufficient evidence to show he was armed with a dangerous weapon.

Thomas claimed in his appeal that he received ineffective assistance of counsel.

In his claim, Thomas said Ingham did not object to a portion of the jury instruction that stated a dangerous weapon would be “designed primarily for use in inflicting death or injury.” Thomas said there was no evidence the pocketknife he was carrying had been designed primarily for use in inflicting death or injury.

Appeals court judges ruled the evidence showed that Thomas held the knife to the pawn shop’s owner’s throat, and indicated that he told her that he would not do anything drastic if she didn’t scream.

The court ruled that Thomas did not show a reasonable probability the trial’s result would have been different if defense counsel had objected to the jury instruction defining a dangerous weapon.

Scott Levine can be reached at scottlevine@clintonherald.com.