Iowa Court of Appeals rules that an accommodation defense must be allowed when a Defendant is charged with possession with intent to deliver controlled substances if there is evidence to support such a defense. The defendant argued that a portion of the marijuana in his possession was to be given away to and shared with folks, which was less than half an ounce (as required by the statute), and was not for sale, and that the rest of the marijuana in his possession was for his own personal use, not sale. The court reversed the conviction and remanded for retrial with the defense to be presented to the jury.

https://www.iowacourts.gov/courtcases/10138/embed/CourtAppealsOpinion

Client’s driving while barred charge dismissed after proof of a temporary restricted license was provided to the State.

Iowa Court of Appeals holds that in the context of expungement, the transfer or merger of charges from one case to another constitutes the transferor case being “otherwise dismissed” and therefore eligible for expungement.

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Iowa Court of Appeals confirms that consent to search or enter a home must be unequivocal, and merely saying “Okay” in response to a police officer’s statement that he was going to enter is not sufficient for the state to establish consent, for such is mere acquiescence, not consent.

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Iowa Court of Appeals reverses murder conviction and remands for a new trial, for jury instructions which commented on the Defendant’s failure to notify law enforcement in a timely fashion of a self-defense claim was a violation of the 5th Amendment. Although a state statute required such notice, the statute was an unconstitutional burden on the 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination.

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Iowa Court of Appeals reverses theft and robbery conviction because there was insufficient evidence of intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property. Taking a car to get away from the police reflects an intent to escape, not intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property.

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NOTICE REGARDING POTENTIAL HOME CONFINEMENT vs. JAIL DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

The undersigned recently has been informed that during the pandemic, for certain cases and certain sentences, some judges are authorizing home confinement with ankle bracelet/monitoring. However, each case will be assessed individually. It depends on the severity of the charge, the length of the sentence, what position the State takes, whether the individual judge assigned to that particular case is willing to approve it, and whether the sheriff’s office/jail approves it.

City of Cedar Rapids dismisses charge of wild or dangerous animal against my client, after dog bit a neighbor.

Iowa Supreme Court holds that the crime of carrying weapons  while intoxicated requires more than mere possession, but “carrying,” which is narrower than possessing. Hence a jury instruction which allows a jury to convict based on mere possession, actual or constructive, is erroneous.

Furthermore, the Court held that a jury cannot be instructed that the Defendant’s out of court statements can be considered to have the same weight as if made at the trial. Such is erroneous because the Defendant was not under oath when the out of court statements were made.

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Iowa Supreme Court again confirms that any order regarding restitution is neither appealable nor enforceable until the court files its final order of restitution after a determination of the defendant’s reasonable ability to pay. Interim restitution orders are not enforceable, and collection efforts must await the district court’s determination of the defendant’s reasonable ability to pay all items of restitution and entry of the final order of restitution. Interim orders should state that no sums are due before then. A court cannot determine reasonable ability to pay until all restitution amounts are known.

Although restitution to victims, clerk of court for fines, penalties, and surcharges are required regardless of the offender’s reasonable ability to pay,  a second category of restitution does require a determination of reasonable ability to pay, and includes crime victim compensation program reimbursement, restitution to public agencies pursuant to section 321J.2(13)(b)(emergency response by fire fighting, law enforcement, ambulance, medical, or other emergency services), court costs including correctional fees approved pursuant to 356.7, court appointed attorney fees ordered pursuant to 815.9 – including expense of a public defender, contribution to a local anti-crime organization, and restitution to the medical assistance program pursuant to chapter 249A.

 

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Iowa Supreme Court reverses theft conviction. The Defendant wrote checks without authorization from a bank account that was not hers. The State charged her with violating Iowa Code section 714.1(6), which provides that a person commits theft if the person knows that such check will not be paid when presented. In fact, the checks written were paid when presented, and there was no evidence that the Defendant knew the check would not be paid when presented. Hence, the Defendant was not guilty of that particular crime.

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The Iowa Supreme Court has held that when a Defendant applies for expungement of a dismissed case under Iowa Code section 901C.2, the Defendant need only prove that the financial obligations regarding that singular dismissed case have been paid in order to qualify for expungement, and does not have to prove payment of financial obligations in other cases. Iowa Code section 901C.2(1)(a)(2) requires the Defendant to establish he/she satisfied all financial obligations ordered by the court or assessed by the clerk of the district court only in the singular criminal case in which the application for expungement was filed and for which expungement was sought.

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