Topic: Miscellaneous
Resource: Cases
Record Upload Date: April 13, 2006
Case Name: State v. Mallett
Citation: No. 02-1906, 2003 WL 22901008 (Iowa Ct. App. 2003)
Case Description:

Defendant, Janet Mallett, appealed a jury conviction in the lower court for credit card fraud and identity theft. A friend of Mallett phoned the credit card company impersonating Mallett's mother to obtain an additional credit card on the account. The friend arranged to have the card sent to Mallett. Upon receipt of the credit card, Mallett made a $4,500 withdrawal of cash and unsuccessfully tried to make a $5.000 wire transfer using the card. Eventually Mallett admitted the crimes to a police investigator.

In Mallett's appeal she claimed that the lower court issued incorrect jury instructions regarding the elements of identity theft and incorrectly admitted evidence. She also alleged that her counsel failed to object appropriately to the jury instructions.

The court looked to the legislative history of the applicable statute in its analysis of the jury instructions. The court found that the lower court's jury instructions were correct and that it was appropriate in the instruction to say that one must fraudulently obtain a benefit instead of fraudulently obtain identification information, as Mallett argued, to constitute identity theft.

Mallett next argued that evidence regarding two burglaries at her mother's home two weeks prior to the credit card incident was irrelevant and should have been excluded. She also argued that, in the alternative, even if the evidence was relevant it prejudiced her case unfairly. The court agreed that the evidence was not relevant. However the court added that a case does not necessarily have to be remanded due to the admission of irrelevant evidence. The court held that if other evidence can significantly illustrate that the defendant is guilty, the irrelevant admitted evidence does not prejudice the defendant. Mallett's own admissions satisfied this requirement and the convictions were affirmed.

Notes Comments:

Court: Court of Appeals of Iowa

Docket Number: 02-1906

Date of Decision: December 10, 2003

Keyword: Identity Theft

Alternative Citation: No. 02-1906, 2003 Iowa App. LEXIS 1065 (Iowa Ct. App. December 10, 2003)