Multiple Shots Support Only Single Intimidation Charge, IA High Court Holds

Iowa case law summary by Attorney Richard Clem: Multiple intimidation charges for multiple gunshots.

State of Iowa v. Tommy Gines, Jr.. Multiple intimidation charges for multiple gunshots

The Gines case was one of two decided the same day by the Iowa Supreme Court regarding the crime of intimidation with a dangerous weapon with intent, Iowa Code section 708.6. The other case was State v. Ross, which held that a series of shots constituted a single act of intimidation, and would support a conviction of only a single count, rather than one count for each shot fired.

On the advice of his attorney, Tommy Gines had pleaded guilty to three counts of intimidation, based upon a series of shots fired into the air in a parking lot. He was sentenced to ten years for each count, the sentences to run consecutively.

Based upon the holding in Ross, the Iowa Supreme Court held that there was no basis for three convictions, since the series of shots was only a single act of intimidation. Since the plea was based upon the trial attorney's advice, the high court held that this constituted ineffective assistance of counsel.

It therefore remanded the case to the District Court of Polk County. On remand, the prosecution will be given an opportunity to establish a factual basis for three separate counts. If it is able to do so, then the lower court will be able to resentence. But if the state is unable to make this showing, in light of the Ross case, then the case would proceed as if the guilty pleas had not been entered.

No. 11-1272 (Iowa March 21, 2014).

Please see the original opinion for the court's exact language.


Richard P. Clem is an attorney and continuing legal education (CLE) provider in Minnesota. He has been in private practice in the Twin Cities for 25 years. He has a J.D., cum laude, from Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul and a B.A. in History from the University of Minnesota. His reported cases include: Asociacion Nacional de Pescadores a Pequena Escala o Artesanales de Colombia v. Dow Quimica de Colombia, 988 F.2d 559, rehearing denied, 5 F.3d 530 (5th Cir. 1993), cert. denied, 510 U.S. 1041 (1994); LaMott v. Apple Valley Health Care Center, 465 N.W.2d 585 (Minn. Ct. App. 1991); Abo el Ela v. State, 468 N.W.2d 580 (Minn. Ct. App. 1991).

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