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Iowa City man accused of assault with garden rake

An Iowa City man was arrested recently for an alleged assault with a garden rake. According to police, the victim was doing landscaping work at a CVS Pharmacy on Muscatine Avenue when the defendant approached him, punched him in the head and then hit him with the rake when he was on the ground. The defendant has been charged with the Class D felony of willful injury causing bodily injury.

Under Iowa's Criminal Code, the crime of willful injury is defined as an unjustified act committed with the intent to cause serious injury to another person. If the defendant actually causes serious injury, the offense is a Class C felony. If the defendant causes only bodily injury, it is a Class D felony. Conviction of a Class D felony can result in a prison sentence of up to five years.

Bodily injury is not defined in the Iowa Criminal Code, but the Iowa Supreme Court has defined it to mean physical pain, illness or impairment of physical condition. Serious injury is defined in the statute as bodily injury which results in a substantial risk of death, causes serious permanent disfigurement or other specified conditions. It includes skull fractures and rib fractures.

In a prosecution for willful injury causing bodily injury, as in any criminal case, the state must prove every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. This includes the element of intent. Thus, in this case the prosecution must show the defendant intended to cause serious injury, even if the result was only bodily injury. If the defendant can establish that he did not intend to cause serious injury, the jury might acquit him of the charges.

Source: The Gazette, "Iowa City man arrested in rake assault," Lee Hermiston Nov. 9, 2016

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