Home arrow Criminal Law Update
Iowa Supreme Court opinions 11/6/09
State v. Bogan, (Iowa Nov. 6, 2009).  The supreme court held officers failed to give Bogan, a 14-year-old juvenile, his Miranda rights when they questioned him at the school.  The court found Bogan was in custody and should have been informed of his Miranda rights.  In so finding that a reasonable person in Bogan’s position would have believed himself to be in custody, the court noted the following.  Bogan was summoned to the school office by the principal and armed officers.  He was placed in an area not generally open to the public and was guarded by two officers.  He was not allowed to use the public restroom, but was told to use the nurse’s restroom which was not generally used by students.  Officers called Bogan to the office to be interrogated and held him until the district court arranged for a hearing to obtain fingerprints.  Finally, neither officers nor the detective told Bogan he was free to leave.  

The supreme court also cautioned the district that if on retrial, the State insists on Bogan and his co-defendant While being tried jointly, to considered (1) the complexity of the case and whether the jury will be able to compartmentalize the evidence and (2) the prejudicial effect of evidence admissible against White, but not relevant to Bogan, that may wrongly be used against Bogan.
Iowa Supreme Court Opinions 3/27/09
State v. Sluyter , (Iowa March 27, 2009).  This court held that the legislature has not authorized the use of contempt procedures against acquittal defendants to collect a judgment for the cost of legal assistance provided to defendants.  Before addressing the issue, the court addressed the question of ripeness, finding that the issue was ripe for review because Sluyter faced an objectively reasonable threat of being jailed for his failure to pay the judgment for attorney fees and costs.  The court went on to find that § 815.9 does not provide that a defendant’s reimbursement obligation is enforceable by contempt.  Also, regarding the court’s inherent ability to use contempt proceedings, the court held that in the present case the judgment against Sluyter was civil because he was acquitted.  Therefore, the State had to enforce the judgment through executions, not contempt.  See Chs. 626, 630.  However, contempt proceedings may be used to enforce Chapter 626 and 630. The court also found that the contempt proceedings under § 909.5 did not apply because they only applied to criminal liabilities.  An acquitted defendant’s judgment is a civil liability. 
Iowa Supreme Court opinions 9/12/08
State v. Christopher, (Iowa 9/12/08).  An officer’s warrantless arrest of a defendant five weeks after he initially observed the criminal conduct did not violate the Fourth Amendment.  An off-duty officer observed the defendant driving and suspected that he did not have a valid license.  The next day the officer confirmed that the defendant was barred from driving.  Five weeks later, the officer observed the defendant sitting on some steps in front of a house.  The officer arrested him & did a search incident to arrest where upon he found marijuana and crack in the defendant’s pocket.  The defendant argued that the search was illegal because the arrest was illegal.  The defendant argued that the officer had to arrest within a reasonable amount of time after the officer observed the criminal conduct.  This court stated that the Fourth Amendment did not require an arrest take place within a reasonable amount of time.  “The proper inquiry is whether the officer had probable cause to arrest: ‘[a] warrantless arrest of an individual in a public place for a felony, or a misdemeanor committed in the officer’s presence, is consistent with the Fourth Amendment if the arrest is supported by
probable cause.’”
Iowa Court of Appeals Opinions 8/27/08

State v. Schroeder , No. 07-1991, 2008 WL 3916457 (Iowa Ct. App. August 27, 2008).  Without a showing that the pursuing officer was in uniform, there is not a factual basis for the offense eluding.  See also State v. Pinegar, No. 06-0258, 2007 WL 4321968, *4 (Iowa Ct. App. Dec. 12, 2007) (evidence insufficient to prove eluding where State failed to prove the officer was in uniform when he stopped Pinegar).

State v. Reynolds, No. 07-1617 (Iowa Ct. App. August 27, 2008).  Reversible error when court excluded from the prior bad acts instruction the phrase “were so closely connected in time.”  The uniform instruction requires wrongful acts be so closely connected in time so as to form a reasonable connection between the acts, and only then may the other wrongful acts be considered for the purpose of establishing motive, intent, absence of mistake or accident, common scheme, or identity.  The Court of Appeals also held the trial court abused its discretion when it granted a blanket determination that all prior, similar wrongful acts were admissible.  The court held that the admissibility of each act must be analyzed in each individual instance.                                     

Iowa Supreme Court Opinions 7/25/08
State v. Smith, (July 25, 2007).  The defendant entered a plea of guilty to first-degree burglary, third-degree sexual abuse, and assault causing injury as a habitual offender.  After the plea he waived his right to file a motion in arrest of judgment and asked to be immediately sentence, which he was.  Four months later the district court found the sentence did not comply with section 903B.1.  Two weeks later the court set aside the sentence and set the matter for resentencing on December 18th.  At that hearing the defendant asked to withdraw his guilty plea.  The district court continued the resentencing for January 16th.  On January 11th, five days before the sentencing, the defendant filed a motion in arrest of judgment.  The motion was granted because the original sentence did not include the mandatory lifetime supervision requirement of section 903B.1.  Further, the defendant was not informed of section 903B.a, therefore, he plea was unknowing.  Finally, the improper plea invalidated the entire plea agreement.  The State appealed.

The Iowa Supreme Court held that the motion in arrest of judgment was untimely.  Iowa Rule of Criminal Procedure 2.24(3)(b) requires a defendant to file a motion in arrest of judgment no later than 45 days after the defendant enters the plea, but no later than five days before sentencing.  The court rejected Smith’s claim that his motion in arrest of judgment was timely because it was filed no later than five days before sentencing.  The court held that if the sentencing is set for more than fifty days after sentencing, the maximum time for filing the motion in arrest of judgment is 45 days.  If the sentencing is less than fifty days after the plea, then the maximum time a defendant has to file a motion in arrest of judgment is five days before sentencing.  The not-later-than-five days has no application to resentencing.  

The court also held that postconviction relief proceedings were the proper remedy for the defendant’s claim that his plea was unknowing because he was not informed about section 903B.1's lifetime supervision.         

State v. Helmers, (July 25, 2008).  The court held that the district court abused its discretion when it bifurcated the defendant’s trial for stalking with a class “D” enhancement because there was a no-contact order.  See Iowa Code §§ 708.11(2), 708.11(3)(b)(1).  Following Apprendi v. New Jersey, the court held that the no-contact enhancement was an element of the stalking offense. The court held that the district court erred when it found the probative value of the no-contact order was substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice.  The district court found was relevant to prove whether the defendant had knowledge or should have had knowledge that his actions would have placed his former girlfriend in reasonable fear of bodily injury.  See Iowa R. Evid. 5.404(b).  However, the district court went on to find that under the rule 5.403 balancing test the evidence of the no-contact order was not admissible.  The Iowa Supreme Court disagreed.  The court concluded that the evidence of the no-contact order was the best evidence to prove what Helmers knew or should have known.  It was highly probative.  The court then stated that the likelihood that a jury would use the evidence improperly could be lessoned with a jury instruction on the limited use of a no-contact order.  But see State v. Mitchell, 633 N.W.2d 295, 299-300 (Iowa 2001) (reversed and remanded even though limiting instruction given); State v. Castaneda, 621 N.W.2d 435, 442 (Iowa 2001) (witness’ testimony “was so inherently prejudicial that no amount of admonition by the court was sufficient to remove the prejudice”).        
Iowa Supreme Court Opinions 5/2, 9/08
State v. Freemont (May 2, 2008).  The court found that the magistrate was not “neutral and detached” as required by the Fourth Amendment and that the doctrine of harmless error did not apply.  The magistrate had a nonpecuniary interest in the matter that objectively cast doubt on his ability to hold the balance between the state and the accused.  In the present case the magistrate represented the father in a custody case against one of the targets of the search.  Though the magistrate did not receive a direct pecuniary benefit, there was a potential benefit for his client.  The magistrate knew he represented an adverse party.  The issuance of the warrant could lead to drug charges against the mother of the child involved in the custody dispute.  This would have a direct impact on the issue of the best interest of the child for the custody dispute.  The court further held that the under the facts of the present case the defendant did not have to show actual prejudice because the conflict was so fraught with danger.  Further, the court held the doctrine of harmless error did not apply because the lack of a neutral and detached magistrate is a structural defect that defeats any application of the harmless error doctrine.  

State v. Allensworth (May 9, 2008).  The warrantless search of a steering column was based upon probable cause that arose during a lawful inventory search.  The court held that probable cause to conduct a warrantless automobile-exception search can arise during an inventory search of a vehicle even after it has been removed from the scene of a stop and seize.  Probable cause for an automobile exception search may evolve from a proper investigatory stop of a vehicle.  Probable cause may also evolve from the discovery of contraband in the course of a proper inventory search.  An automobile exception search may be as thorough as a magistrate could authorize in a warrant particularly describing the place to be searched.  The reasonableness of a search cannot turn on the fortuity of whether the inventory search commenced and contraband was discovered before or after the vehicle was removed from the scene of the stop or seizure.   
Iowa Supreme Court Opinions 3/21/08
State v. Abrahamson , N.W.2d (Iowa 2008) - Manufacturing and conspiracy counts arising from the same set of facts, and charged under section 124.401(1), are one offense for purposes of determining whether a dismissal with prejudice of one of them under rule 2.33 bars the refiling of both of them.  When both offenses are charged under Iowa Code section 124.401(1), conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine and manufacturing methamphetamine are alternatives of the same offense.  Where the conspiracy charge was dismissed with prejudiced, then the State was also barred from filing a manufacturing methamphetamine charge.  In the present case the State was facing a speedy trial violation, so it moved to dismiss the conspiracy to manufacture charge “in the interest of justice.”  The same day, the State filed a new trial information, charging (1) conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine (again), and (2) manufacturing methamphetamine.  The district court found the dismissal of the first trial information was with prejudice because the State failed to provide reasons for the dismissal.  The district court, therefore, dismissed the conspiracy charge.  However, it denied the motion to dismiss the manufacturing charge.  The Supreme Court held that conspiracy to manufacture and manufacturing charges under section 124.401(1), and based upon the same set of facts, were alternatives of the same offense, and therefore, the State was barred from refiling both.  
Iowa Suprme Court Opnions 2/29/08
Wright v.  Iowa Dep’t of Corrections.  The 2000 foot restriction under section 692A.2A is not limited to only persons on the sex offender registry.  Section 692A.2A specifically defines “person” as a person who commits certain offenses against a minor.  This means all person, not just those on the sex offender registry.  The fact that Wright completed his sentence prior to the enactment of the sex offender registry did not immune him to the application of the 2000 foot restriction.  The court further rejected Wright’s equal protection, due process, bill of attainder, and banishment arguments.  In rejecting the substantive due process argument, the court stated that Wright had not presented any evidence that would cause it to retreat from its decision in State v. Seering, 701 N.W.2d 655 (Iowa 2005); see State v. Groves,742 N.W.2d 90 (Iowa 2007) (changes in the underlying circumstance can allow this court to find a statute no longer rationally related to a legitimate government purpose, however Groves failed to establish that the statute did not advance some legitimate government purpose).

State v. Millam.  Milliam was denied the effective assistance of counsel.  At the time of trial there was still a question whether the legal interpretation of the rape shield law, Rule of Evid. 5.412, barred prior false claims of sexual abuse as past sexual behavior.  The court held that trial counsel breached an essential a duty because research of other jurisdictions would have revealed prior false claims of sexual abuse was admissible.  Further, the attorney should have seized upon plain language of Rule 5.412 and that  “false claims” are not sexual behavior.  The issue was one clearly worth raising.  The court also held that Millam was prejudiced since his conviction hinged on the parties’ credibility.  It was a he said/she said case.  The evidence against the defendant was not overwhelming, therefore, the evidence of prior false claims was imperative to an effective defense.  The lack of evidence and counsel’s breach raised doubt as to the fundamental fairness the trial and called into question the reliability of the verdict.  

State v. Massengale.  Implied consent advisory violated substantive due process because the advisory did not accurately inform Massengale of the consequences to his commercial license of failing or refusing the chemical OWI test. 
<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 Next > End >>

Results 1 - 8 of 47
© 2017 Iowa Public Defender