Metro Briefs

BY DI STAFF | APRIL 14, 2015 5:00 AM

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State seeks to dismiss Pfeifer appeal

The state of Iowa wants Evan Pfeifer’s appeals dismissed.

The state of Iowa, through the Johnson County Attorney’s Office, has recommended dismissing the postconviction relief petition of a man convicted of sexually assaulting a woman on the Pentacrest.

The state filed a memorandum of authorities and argument to emphasize its argument following last month’s trial.

Pfeifer was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2012 for sexually assaulting a woman on the west side of the Pentacrest in the early morning hours of Oct. 3, 2010.

The state, through the Johnson County Attorney’s Office, holds that Mike Brown, Pfeifer’s former lawyer, “exercised reasonable professional judgment” when he advised Evans that it was in his best interest not to testify.

“The fact that the trial did not achieve the outcome that Mr. Pfeifer had hoped for does not mean that Mark Brown did not make a reasonable decision based on the information he had available to him,” the latest document reads.

In his current case against the state, Pfeifer says that his counsel at the time of the trial was ineffective, made numerous errors during the case, and did not allow him the chance to testify. He seeks to have his conviction overturned.

According to court documents, Pfeifer contends that if he had been given a chance to speak, the jury would have found him not guilty. Brown said that he was unable to get any details about the incident from Pfeifer while preparing for the trial.

The state contends that, even if Brown had made different decisions in how he built the defenses case during the trial, the number of witnesses and evidence presented by the state would have ensured the same outcome.

There has yet to be a final disposition in the case.

— by Bill Cooney

UI Muslim Student Association to host event

The University of Iowa Muslim Student Association will host “Around the World through Abrahamic Faiths” at 5:30 p.m. today in the IMU Second-Floor Ballroom.

One representative from each Abrahamic religion — Judaism, Christianity, and Islam — will speak during a panel. The event will end at 8:30 p.m.

Tickets are available at the IMU Hub for $10, which includes admission and dinner.

— by DI staff

Local woman charged with 3rd OWI

Authorities have accused an Iowa City woman of driving while intoxicated.

Valerie Harney, 29, was charged with third-offense OWI on Sunday.

According to online court documents, Harney was found sitting in the passenger seat of a black Hyundai Elantra that was in a ditch.

The vehicle was still running, and Harney said she does not remember how she got into the passenger’s seat.

Harney had bloodshot, watery eyes, very slurred speech, and a very strong scent of ingested alcohol coming from her.

She refused any sobriety tests.

Third-offense OWIs are a Class-D felony.

— by Alyssa Guzman

Coralville man charged with 3rd OWI

Authorities have accused a Coralville man of driving while intoxicated.

Francis Gakinya, 33, was charged with third-offense OWI on Sunday.

According to online court documents, an off-duty Iowa City officer reported a Buick LeSabre driving all over the road.

A Coralville officer then caught up with Gakinya and stopped him. Gakinya reportedly had a strong scent of alcohol coming from him and also had slurred speech.

He admitted to drinking in the morning and blew a .306.

Third-offense OWI is a Class-D felony.

— by Alyssa Guzman

Thomas announces council candidacy

John Thomas, a retired landscape architect, has announced his candidacy for the Iowa City City Council.

Thomas said he will run for the District C spot, which is currently held by Jim Throgmorton.

Throgmorton has said he will run for an at-large spot in the upcoming election.

In a release, Thomas said he had four main goals, including healthy governance, a healthy economy, healthy neighborhoods, and healthy streets.

“Over the past five years, I have enjoyed working alongside fellow Iowa Citians to improve the quality of life in Iowa City,” he said. “Whether as a neighbor advocating for improving Iowa City’s schools, as North Side Neighborhood Association Coordinator renovating North Market Square Park, or as a member of the Planning and Zoning Commission advising City Council on planning and zoning matters, I have worked diligently to make Iowa City a better, healthier place.

Thomas currently sits on the Planning and Zoning Commission, on which he has served since 2012.

From 1986 to 2009 Thomas was a landscape architect for the city of San Francisco and taught Landscape Architecture at the University of California-Berkeley.

— by Nick Moffitt

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