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State v. Pollard
Iowa Court of Appeals
862 N.W.2d 414 (2015)
Bruce Pollard (defendant) walked into Cinema X with a crowbar. Pollard struck the theater manager, McDaniel, in the head and strangled him with the crowbar. McDaniel was much older than Pollard and unarmed. Eventually, Pollard admitted to killing McDaniel. However, Pollard claimed that he killed McDaniel in self-defense. According to Pollard, McDaniel sat very close to Pollard during a movie and made a sexual advance. Pollard said that he told McDaniel that the interaction was inappropriate and that then he felt something on his leg and panicked. Pollard alleged that he ran to the front door, which was locked, and that McDaniel was behind him when he turned around. At this point, Pollard admits to hitting McDaniel with the crowbar and strangling him. At trial, Pollard sought to use an affirmative defense of justification. The trial court instructed the jury on Pollard’s justification defense, which defined the use of reasonable force. Pollard’s counsel did not request an additional jury instruction explaining the exception to the alternative-course-of-action requirement for his justification defense. The given instruction and Pollard’s desired instruction were substantially similar in that both instructions essentially provided that a killing is justified if the killer reasonably believed that force was necessary to avoid injury. The jury convicted Pollard of first-degree murder. Pollard appealed, arguing that his counsel was ineffective for failing to request the additional instruction.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Tabor, J.)
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