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State v. Morris

Supreme Court of Iowa
677 N.W.2d 787 (2004)


In the early hours of the morning, William Morris (defendant) came across a running vehicle on the driveway of its owner, Brian Gonzales. Gonzalez had left the running vehicle on his drive to warm up and reentered his home. Morris drove away in the vehicle without Gonzales’s consent and was subsequently tracked by local police. Once located by law enforcement, Morris abandoned the vehicle and ran away on foot. Shortly afterward, police located and arrested Morris. Morris was convicted of second-degree theft as a habitual offender under Iowa Code § 714.2(2), § 902.8 and § 902.9(3). The lesser-included offense of operating a motor vehicle without the owner’s consent was also before the jury, but the jury determined Morris’s conduct met the requirements for the higher offense of theft. Morris appealed the conviction on the ground that the intent element for theft of a motor vehicle was not satisfied. Morris alleged there was no evidence to support that he intended to permanently deprive Gonzales of the vehicle. The court of appeals agreed with Morris and reversed the theft conviction. The state appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Per Curiam)

Concurrence (Carter, J.)

Dissent (Larson, J.)

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