My client was found not guilty of harassment, after a trial to a judge.

Prosecutor’s references to excluded evidence, in a veiled attempt to get around the Court’s rulings in limine, was a violation of the Court’s ruling in limine, and the prejudice requires reversal and a new trial.

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Iowa Court of Appeals rules that a prosecutor may not personally vouch for the credibility or truthfulness of a witness, especially when credibility is at the crux of the case, and to do so requires reversal and remand for a new trial.

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Iowa Court of Appeals rules that it is unconstitutional for an officer to tell a person to leave their purse in the car when at the time there was no probable cause for a seizure of the purse; and the officer cannot later justify a search of the purse based on illegal items found in the car.

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The Iowa Supreme Court has held that under the Iowa Constitution, the implied consent procedures requiring a person to submit to a breath test without a warrant in the context of operating a motor boat while intoxicated are unconstitutional and not consensual unless the State proves otherwise.

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The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed that even hateful or offensive speech is protected by the 1st Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Writing the opinion in Matal v. Tam, which will become known as the “Slants” case, Justice Samuel Alito wrote:

[The idea that the government may restrict] speech expressing ideas that offend … strikes at the heart of the First Amendment. Speech that demeans on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, disability, or any other similar ground is hateful; but the proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express “the thought that we hate.”

In his concurrence, Justice Anthony Kennedy agreed:

A law found to discriminate based on viewpoint is an “egregious form of content discrimination,” which is “presumptively unconstitutional.” … A law that can be directed against speech found offensive to some portion of the public can be turned against minority and dissenting views to the detriment of all. The First Amendment does not entrust that power to the government’s benevolence. Instead, our reliance must be on the substantial safeguards of free and open discussion in a democratic society.

In a shocking reversal of decades of precedent, the Iowa Supreme court has held that the speedy indictment rule commences and starts to run from the time of arrest only when an arrest is completed with the Defendant making an initial appearance before a magistrate.

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Iowa Supreme Court holds that when a defendant is charged with domestic abuse assault, the defendant is entitled to have a jury instruction defining what it means to reside or cohabit with a household member.

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Iowa Supreme Court rules that theft by taking under Iowa Code section 714.1(1) is limited to situations where the person obtains property without consent. Even if the consent is obtained by fraud, it isn’t a theft by taking, but rather theft by deception.

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Iowa Court of Appeals reverses driving while barred conviction for lack of evidence, for the State failed to produce sufficient evidence to establish that the notice that the drivers license was being barred had been mailed to the Defendant.

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Insufficient probable cause to search vehicle based on search of passenger outside of vehicle, which determined that the passenger had a warrant and illegal items on his person, and smelled like marijuana. However, there was no probable cause to believe the vehicle contained illegal items.

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The Iowa Supreme Court has reversed my client’s conviction of a false answer on a gun permit application, remanding for dismissal of the charge. It held that Iowa Code section 724.17 does not criminalize falsely answering an unauthorized question on an application to acquire a weapon permit (even assuming the answer was false). The legislature limited that which the gun permit application could require, by using the words “shall require only,” followed by a list of items relating to identity. The question the State alleged my client answered falsely was a question not authorized by the statute to be asked, one which pertained to criminal history. Instead, the statute imposed a duty on the sheriff to run a criminal history check based on the identifying information provided, not for the individual to answer questions about their criminal history. Hence, the State could not prosecute him for his allegedly false answer to a question the legislature did not authorize.

Regardless, it always was the defense’s position that the answer to the question was not in fact false, for it depended upon how the question was interpreted. The question was vague, ambiguous, and compound, which in logic is a fallacy known as a double-barreled question. Because of these interpretive issues, my client misunderstood the question. When the sheriff’s deputy asked my client the question in a non-compound, clearer fashion, he answered accurately. Ultimately, the permit to acquire was denied. Nevertheless, the State decided to arrest and charge my client with a class D felony.

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Editorial by the Des Moines Register