State v. Clark, No. 10–0511.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Iowa
Writing for the CourtMANSFIELD
PartiesSTATE of Iowa, Appellee, v. Donald Lyle CLARK, Appellant.
Docket NumberNo. 10–0511.
Decision Date08 June 2012

814 N.W.2d 551

STATE of Iowa, Appellee,
v.
Donald Lyle CLARK, Appellant.

No. 10–0511.

Supreme Court of Iowa.

June 8, 2012.


[814 N.W.2d 554]


Clemens A. Erdahl of Nidey Wenzel Erdahl Tindal & Fisher PLC, Cedar Rapids, for appellant.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Darrel L. Mullins, Assistant Attorney General, Janet M. Lyness, County Attorney, and Anne M. Lahey and Elizabeth A. Beglin, Assistant County Attorneys, for appellee.


MANSFIELD, Justice.

Donald Clark was convicted of sexual abuse in the second degree for molesting a fifth-grade student (C.B.) while employed as a guidance counselor at an elementary school during the 2003–2004 school year. SeeIowa Code § 709.3(2) (2003). Clark appeals, arguing that his constitutional rights to a fair trial and due process were violated when the trial court failed to grant his request for a continuance and to allow the retaking of depositions based on the late disclosure of an e-mail written by the student. We find that the complained-of actions did not violate Clark's constitutional rights. We also find they did not amount to an abuse of discretion. Therefore, we affirm Clark's conviction and sentence.

I. Facts and Procedural History.

During the 2003–2004 academic year, Donald Clark was a guidance counselor at an elementary school attended by C.B. C.B., a fifth-grade student, previously had been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder. When C.B. began experiencing issues regarding his concentration and academic progress, a meeting was held between his parents and school personnel. It was decided that C.B. would begin seeing Clark, the school guidance counselor.

C.B. visited with Clark about once or twice a week during the 2003–2004 academic year. Clark would come and get C.B. from his classroom, and they would go to Clark's office where they would talk and play board games for about twenty to thirty minutes. During these visits, C.B. and Clark were generally sitting on the floor of Clark's office. C.B. recalled being victimized by Clark on at least two of these occasions.

The first alleged instance of abuse occurred during the second semester, after C.B. had already visited with Clark several times. According to C.B., he was in the process of telling Clark about an argument he had had with his older brother. Clark said he was sorry the argument had occurred and touched C.B.'s leg. According to C.B., Clark then proceeded to move his hand towards C.B.'s crotch and began feeling his genitals through his pants. When C.B. tried to protest, Clark covered C.B.'s mouth and told him not to tell anyone.

[814 N.W.2d 555]

On the second occasion recalled by C.B., Clark took him into his office, turned off the lights, and held a stuffed animal over his face. C.B. stated that Clark then put his hand inside C.B.'s pants and began rubbing his genitals. According to C.B., in this instance Clark sounded aggravated, very upset, and aggressive. He told C.B. to shut up and never to tell anyone. Clark waited for C.B. to calm down and stop crying, and then let C.B. return to the classroom. This second occasion occurred at the end of the spring semester.

C.B. believed there were other times that Clark inappropriately touched him, but those two were “the only times I remember in vivid detail.”

C.B.'s mother noticed her son becoming frustrated and increasingly angry during the spring semester of fifth grade. At times, he would be reserved and unwilling to open up. C.B.'s father remembered that after fifth grade, C.B.'s life “spiraled out of control.” By seventh grade, C.B. was drinking, using drugs, and engaging in other self-harming behaviors such as cutting himself. C.B. also attempted to commit suicide on more than one occasion. According to C.B.'s father, C.B. tearfully told family members that “[his] life sucked” and there was one thing they didn't know, but he refused to tell them what was going on.

In the spring of 2009, C.B.'s father, a deputy sheriff who works in the Johnson County jail, encountered Clark who was serving time for an OWI. There was an incident where Clark was involved in sexual acts in the jail, and C.B.'s father raised the question to C.B. whether anything had ever happened between C.B. and Clark years before. C.B. denied that it had.

As a result of C.B.'s behavioral problems, C.B.'s parents sent him to a highly structured school for troubled youth in Keokuk, Iowa. Shortly after arriving at the school on May 15, 2009, C.B. disclosed the alleged abuse for the first time during group therapy. C.B. testified that the revelation was triggered by one of his peers talking about having molested his own brother. A few days later, on June 8, 2009, C.B. wrote his family a five-page, single-spaced e-mail in which he discussed the alleged sexual abuse but did not identify the perpetrator. The e-mail stated in part:

[I would] rather just tell you guys in my letter the true honest to god reason [I] really started everything like my drug use and what not. [W]ell before as you guys know [I] said it was because [I] see things and that [I] never really felt loved or anything but that was only a little [ ] part of why I really was doing those things and acted that way.... [B]ack in fifth grade [I] was sexually abused and as you know [I] started doing bad things around seventh grade. [M]y whole life [I']ve been seeing things and hearing things and [I] just used that as my reason.... My whole life [I ha]ve been living a lie from you guys. [I] remember you guys always suspected som[e]thing happening like me being sexually abused especially when me and [my brother] were going through the lessons at the church downtown for our com[m]union and what not and you guys asked me if the priest ever did anything to me or [my brother] well that was true he didn[']t do it to me it was someone else. [A]nd that [is] one of the reasons [I] did[not] want to do counseling I really was [not] wanting to talk about it [I] just wanted to crumple it up and throw it away. [I] never wanted to go to counseling because [I] though[t] you guys would some[ ]how get it out of me and I was scared of what you guys might do.... [S]o my whole life [I ha]ve seen things and heard things ... [I] was

[814 N.W.2d 556]

sexual[l]y abused by someone in fifth grade and those are the main reasons [I] started doing drugs. [T]hose are actually the only reasons [I] started doing drugs. [I]t [is] still really hard for me to tell you guys this even though [I am] typing it ... [I] shared about this in group and it really helped[. I] got the courage because a few days ago one of the kids shared about him sexually abusing his brother. [W]ell during that time [I] had tears coming down my face because [I] could feel what his brother is going through and [I] could relate to it. [W]ell when that kid was sharing [I] just wanted to kill him to be honest cause of what he did. [A]nd it also gave me the courage to tell everyone in the family what happened....

....

[W]ell back to the sexually abused thing. [I]t has really made me the angry kid [I] am today. [I] have held it in for so long and [I] have never talked to anyone about it until two or three days ago y[ou] know and like almost every night since that night [I] have cried myself to bed and remember mom when [I] would say there is something wrong with my eye when there would be a random tear drop running down my face ... well that[is] not true I umm would be thinking about that day when that normally happened that was just a front so you guys would[not] know or find out.

[A]nd this is the whole reason [I ha]ve been wanting to do counseling now like [I ha]ve put it out there and [I a]m really like wanting to talk about this. [N]ow [I] finally got the courage to put this out here and like this is why [I] really do [not] need to be here ... [I] want to see a counselor about this and talk to someone and shit but they w[ill no]t let me here. [I ha]ve brought up seeing a psychiatrist or a counselor how many times to the staff to tell my rep or even see a counselor that comes to the school and every time they say they will tell my rep or the counselor and nothing happens....

....

[A]nother thing that has came up is [I] told my family rep Mr[.] Jordan about me seeing and hearing things[. W]ell he said he would talk to mom and dad about it because you know kids in here lie about this shit ... [W]ell [I a]m not l[y]ing about it and [I] told him [I] want to see you guys and all go see a psychiatrist to see if [I] can get meds for this because [I a]m tired of dealing with this shit and [I] want it to go away ... [I] really want to change and it[i]s hard when [I a]m constantly l[y]ing to people about shit that happens and just playing it off that [I] do[no]t have something that [I] do have and it[i]s hard when you guys just say it[i]s spirits and shit when [I] really do [no]t feel that it is. [A]ll you guys say is it[i]s spirits and not schi[ ]zoph[re]nia but you guys do[no]t know and you do[no]t want me to get tested or anything or talk to a psychiatrist about it when I want to becau[s]e [I] feel it will make a difference in my life but you guys do[no]t want to put fo[ ]rth the effort or money to try somthing new.

....

[I] really do[no]t need to be here[. I a]m open [I] want to change [I] want to go to a counselor[. I] know in the past [I] did[no]t want to but [I] explained why in the beginning part of my letter and [I] hope you guys read this and take it all in[.] [Do no]t think [I a]m just saying this or l[y]ing it[i]s all very true.

After receiving the e-mail, C.B.'s parents contacted the school and asked that C.B. see a social worker. C.B. spoke to two social workers and revealed that he

[814 N.W.2d 557]

had been sexually abused during his fifth-grade counseling sessions with Clark. The school, as well as C.B.'s father, reported the allegations to the police who initiated an investigation. In his written statement to the police, C.B. reiterated that he had been abused by Clark during these...

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82 practice notes
  • State v. Neiderbach, No. 11-1082
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • August 23, 2013
    ...the evidence and readjust its strategy. Effective cross-examination, however, is not ordinarily developed on the fly. See State v. Clark, 814 N.W.2d 551, 568 (Iowa 2012) (Appel, J., dissenting); see also Hammon, 938 P.2d at 994 (Mosk, J., concurring); William F. Conour, Use of Statements in......
  • State v. Neiderbach, No. 11–1082.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • November 22, 2013
    ...the evidence and readjust its strategy. Effective cross-examination, however, is not ordinarily developed on the fly. See State v. Clark, 814 N.W.2d 551, 568 (Iowa 2012) (Appel, J., dissenting); see also Hammon, 65 Cal.Rptr.2d 1, 938 P.2d at 994 (Mosk, J., concurring); William F. Conour, Us......
  • Steven Church v. State, 22S-CR-201
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • June 23, 2022
    ...a criminal defendant the right to depose witnesses" because a defendant "has no due process right to pretrial discovery." State v. Clark, 814 N.W.2d 551, 561 (Iowa 2012); see also State v. Hilton, 744 A.2d 96, 99 (N.H. 1999) ("A defendant has no unqualified due process right under either th......
  • State v. Halverson, No. 13–0446.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • January 2, 2015
    ...To date, we have followed the Strickland standard under both the United States and the Iowa Constitutions. See State v. Clark, 814 N.W.2d 551, 567 (Iowa 2012) (applying the two-prong Strickland test under both Constitutions); State v. Fountain, 786 N.W.2d 260, 265–66 (Iowa 2010) (same); Sta......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
83 cases
  • State v. Neiderbach, No. 11-1082
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • August 23, 2013
    ...the evidence and readjust its strategy. Effective cross-examination, however, is not ordinarily developed on the fly. See State v. Clark, 814 N.W.2d 551, 568 (Iowa 2012) (Appel, J., dissenting); see also Hammon, 938 P.2d at 994 (Mosk, J., concurring); William F. Conour, Use of Statements in......
  • State v. Neiderbach, No. 11–1082.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • November 22, 2013
    ...the evidence and readjust its strategy. Effective cross-examination, however, is not ordinarily developed on the fly. See State v. Clark, 814 N.W.2d 551, 568 (Iowa 2012) (Appel, J., dissenting); see also Hammon, 65 Cal.Rptr.2d 1, 938 P.2d at 994 (Mosk, J., concurring); William F. Conour, Us......
  • Steven Church v. State, 22S-CR-201
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • June 23, 2022
    ...a criminal defendant the right to depose witnesses" because a defendant "has no due process right to pretrial discovery." State v. Clark, 814 N.W.2d 551, 561 (Iowa 2012); see also State v. Hilton, 744 A.2d 96, 99 (N.H. 1999) ("A defendant has no unqualified due process right under either th......
  • State v. Montgomery, 19-1613
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • November 19, 2021
    ...2019). We apply a de novo standard of review to claimed violations of the constitutional right to present a defense, State v. Clark , 814 N.W.2d 551, 560 (Iowa 2012), and the Sixth Amendment right to confrontation, see State v. Jones , 490 N.W.2d 787, 789 (Iowa 1992), overruled on other gro......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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