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

Iowa Supreme Court clarifies the procedures required for a plea to be knowing and voluntary, and for a Defendant to be sentenced under a habitual offender sentencing enhancement.

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Iowa Court of Appeals reverses conviction based on State’s striking jurors based on race motivation.

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After a successful motion to suppress ruling, wherein the judge held that the stop of my client’s vehicle was unconstitutional, and all of the evidence was suppressed, the State dismissed all charges against my client – Operating While Intoxicated and no headlights.

Obtained dismissal of my client’s charges of child endangerment and reckless discharge of a firearm.

Iowa Court of Appeals holds that a domestic no contact order cannot be granted where there is insufficient evidence of an intimate or domestic relationship.

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