Sunday, November 17, 2013

State v. Fetters case brief

State v. Fetters case brief summary
562 N.W.2d 770 (1997)

Defendant appealed from the judgment of the Iowa District Court for Polk County, which entered a conviction on one count of first-degree murder in violation of Iowa Code § 707.1and Iowa Code § 707.2(1), (2).

Defendant was charged with first-degree murder with malice aforethought and premeditation and/or while participating in the forcible felony of robbery. Defendant admitted to the murder but asserted insanity and diminished capacity defenses.


  • On appeal, the court ruled that defendant's conviction was proper. 
  • The court ruled that there was substantial evidence within the record that defendant did possess the requisite specific intent necessary for a first-degree murder charge. 
  • The jury could have found that defendant failed to show by a preponderance of the evidence that she was incapable of knowing the nature of her actions. 
  • Defendant failed to establish that a disparity in the representation of African-Americans within the county was due to systematic exclusion in the jury selection process. 
  • She also failed to present statistical evidence to substantiate her claim of the under-representation of African-Americans in the county's jury venires. 
  • The admission of autopsy photographs was proper because they demonstrated the viciousness of the crime in support of the state's claim of malice.

The court affirmed defendant's conviction.

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