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Case No. 19-1273

State of Iowa
Luke Van Hemert


State of Iowa


Luke Van Hemert

Attorney for the Appellee

Louis S. Sloven, Assistant Attorney General

Attorney for the Appellant

Matthew G. Sease

Court of Appeals

Court of Appeals Opinion

Opinion Number:
Date Published:
Oct 07, 2020

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Mahaska County, Lucy J. Gamon, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Tabor and Schumacher, JJ.  Opinion by Schumacher, J.  (19 pages)

            Following a conviction of second-degree murder, Luke Van Hemert appeals the district court’s denial of immunity pursuant to Iowa’s stand-your-ground law contained in Iowa Code section 704.13 (2018).  Van Hemert also alleges his counsel was ineffective for failing to object to a malice aforethought inference jury instruction.  He argues the evidence is insufficient to support the jury’s finding that he lacked justification and acted with malice aforethought; the jury’s verdict is contrary to the weight of the evidence; and the trial court erred in excluding certain impeachment evidence.  OPINION HOLDS: We find no error in the trial court’s denial of Van Hemert’s request for a pretrial immunity hearing.  We find substantial evidence supports the jury’s findings that Van Hemert acted without justification and with malice aforethought and the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying Van Hemert’s motions for new trial. We find the trial court did not abuse its discretion in excluding certain impeachment evidence. Lastly, we are unable to address Van Hemert’s ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claim on direct appeal.

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