116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
The Iowa Court of Appeals today affirmed the Linn County conviction of James Maclin Jr. for attempted murder and two counts of willful injury causing serious injury.
Maclin, of Cedar Rapids, was convicted by jury in 2009 for stabbing his ex-girlfriend, Denene Kuennen, and a friend, Robin Kleppe in 2007. Kuennen was stabbed in the chest and Kleppe was stabbed in the head and body multiple times. Doctors testified at Maclin's trial that the wounds were life-threatening.
Maclin, who filed a non-lawyer appeal, claimed the district court abused its discretion by admitting evidence of his prior violence against Kuennen because the evidence was irrelevant and highly prejudicial, and for admitting portions of recordings of phone calls he made from jail. He also claim ineffective assistance of counsel.
The district court didn't abuse its discretion regarding Maclin's prior violence towards Kuennen because it was relevant, according to the ruling. The defense at trial attempted to claim Maclin's actions that night were abnormal because of a head injury he suffered.
The prosecution established there had been other incidents throughout Maclin and Kuennen's relationship where Maclin had been physically violent, according to the ruling.
Maclin didn't cite any case law or legal authority for argument regarding the phone calls from the jail, according to the ruling. The court also ruled to preserve his ineffective counsel claim for post-conviction relief, which is common.