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Keeping the Streak Alive
By B John Burns
January 22, 2015

After about a month and a half away from reading cases, I just stumbled across the December 19 opinion of the Supreme Court in State v. Lovell.  Lovell is a two-page slip opinion by Justice Per Curiam that the Court ordered to be published, because a point just wasn’t getting across. 

Mr. Lovell pleaded guilty to two counts of incest.  His original sentence was reversed because the district court considered unproven allegations that Mr. Lovell paid for the sex he had received from whomever the family member was that he victimized.  Resentencing was ordered to be before a different judge.

The different judge sentenced Mr. Lovell to the same consecutive five-year terms, for the following reasons:

Well, Mr. Lovell, the problem with your case is, although you have a lack of criminal history, this is extremely offensive, obviously, in the eyes of the law, and in the eyes fo the Court because [the victim] was in a vulnerable position. . . .  In reading the case, she is deparate for diapers for her baby, and then, for sex, YOU’RE GIVING HER MONEY.

Defense counsel then explains that this is what the FIRST judge did, and this is why we’re back here and this case is assigned to YOU.  Well, I’m not relying on that, the court responds.  The offense is plenty bad even without that.  I just noticed it in the minutes of testimony.

Not good enough.  The case gets remanded, again, to a different judge, AGAIN.  Better get it right THIS time, before the Seventh District runs out of judges.
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Criminal Procedure 4A

By B.John Burns 

This reference offers a comprehensive analysis of Iowa criminal procedure. It analyzes criminal procedure, including pre-trial, trial, sentencing, and post-conviction procedure. Provides a comprehensive manual covering all procedural aspects of an Iowa criminal case, from the time you are first engaged to represent a suspected or charged individual, through the final steps of a criminal appeal or state or federal post conviction relief proceeding. Separate divisions review evidentiary issues in criminal trials, constitutional provisions affecting criminal cases, and the representation of inmates in prison litigation.

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