IN THE SUPREME COURT OF IOWA
Filed August 27, 2001
STATE OF IOWA,
WAYNE ANTHONY COSPER,
On appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Joel D.
Defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence to support his
conviction for forgery. AFFIRMED.
Linda Del Gallo, State Appellate Defender, and Robert P. Ranschau,
Assistant State Appellate Defender, for appellant.
Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Bridget A. Chambers, Assistant
Attorney General, John P. Sarcone, County Attorney, and James Ward,
Assistant County Attorney, for appellee.
Considered by Carter, P.J., and Cady, J., and McGiverin, S.J.*
*Senior judge assigned by order pursuant to Iowa Code section 602.9206
On May 20, 2000, the defendant, Wayne Cosper, attempted to cash a
check at Easy Money Check Cashing in Des Moines. The check was drawn on the
closed Brenton Bank account of Norm Secor and was made payable to the
defendant. The check was dated May 19, 2000, and the memo portion of the
check indicated it was payment for "home remodeling labor." The check was
one of several stolen in an earlier burglary of Secor's locked storage
The defendant was charged with forgery in violation of Iowa Code
sections 715A.2(1)(c) and 715A.2(2)(a)(3) (1999), and a jury found him
guilty as charged. On appeal from the resulting district court judgment
and sentence, the defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence to
support his conviction and argues there was no evidence to show that he
knew the check was forged. He contends he received the check in payment
for a drug debt and he had no intent to defraud anyone by attempting to
We review a jury verdict for substantial evidence. State v. Button,
622 N.W.2d 480, 483 (Iowa 2001). In deciding whether the evidence is
substantial, we view the evidence in the light most favorable to the State
and make all reasonable inferences that may fairly be drawn from the
evidence. Id. As such, a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence is
for correction of errors at law. Id.
We find there was substantial evidence to support the jury's verdict.
The defendant was in possession of a stolen check that had been made out
to him, and the memo portion of the check falsely indicated it was payment
for home remodeling labor which the defendant had not performed. There was
testimony the defendant was hesitant and appeared uncomfortable when the
teller at the check cashing service asked him to hand over some
The defendant initially told the arresting officer and later a
detective that he had received the check as payment for labor performed at
a home on the southeast side. However, when confronted with the prospect
of having to take the detective to the house where he had allegedly
performed the work, the defendant changed his story and claimed the check
was payment for a drug debt he had been owed since the fall of 1999. The
latter story was not subject to confirmation as the defendant claimed he
only knew the person who gave him the check by the nickname of "Shooter,"
and he did not know any other information which would assist in identifying
him. A false story told by a defendant to explain or deny a material fact
against him is by itself an indication of guilt and is relevant to show
that the defendant fabricated evidence to aid his defense. State v. Cox,
500 N.W.2d 23, 25 (Iowa 1993).
Direct and circumstantial evidence are equally probative. Iowa Rule
of Appellate Procedure 14(f)(16). There was sufficient evidence from which
the jury could determine the defendant knew the check was forged when he
attempted to cash it. Where the record contains substantial evidence, we
are bound by the jury's finding of guilt. Button, 622 N.W.2d at 483. The
defendant's conviction is affirmed.
This is not a published opinion.