Iowa Supreme Court rules that it is constitutional to stop a driver for potential improper use of a cell phone when an officer observes the driver holding the cell phone in front of his face manipulating the screen with his finger for ten seconds.
In the trial of a case of alleged wanton neglect of a resident of a heath care facility in violation of Iowa Code section 726.7, the Iowa Supreme Court has held that it is reversible error to introduce evidence regarding the standard of care in the nursing profession and to provide the jury with instructions related to that standard of care, for such created an unfair danger of prejudice and confusion regarding the proper legal standard, for the standard of accountability in the professional standard is not the same as the criminal standard of knowingly acting in a manner likely to be injurious to a resident.
Iowa Court of Appeals rules that State should not have been allowed to amend a trial information during trial because the State essentially charged a wholly new and different offense, which was prejudicial. The State amended a charge of assault causing bodily injury, a serious misdemeanor, to assault while using or displaying a dangerous weapon, an aggravated misdemeanor. The court held that a charge is different if it contained an element not found in the originally charged count. Because the new charge had elements not included in the original charge, and also carried a harsher punishment, the court should not have allowed the amendment. The Court of Appeals noted that even 1st degree and 2nd degree murder are wholly new and different offenses, even though they are contained in the same code section. Still, they contain different elements.
Iowa Court of Appeals rules that for malicious prosecution, the State must prove that the Defendant caused or attempted to cause another to be indicted or prosecuted for a public offense without reasonable grounds to believe that the person committed the offense. The Defendant claimed another person’s identity. However, the evidence did not support a finding that she did so in order to cause the person whose name she gave to be indicted or prosecuted. Hence, the conviction for that charge had to be reversed.
Iowa Court of Appeals reverses drunk driving OWI conviction and remands for a new trial, ruling that Iowa Code section 321J.6 was not followed properly. In order to invoke implied consent and request a breath specimen, there must not only be reasonable grounds to believe the person is operating under the influence, but one of six other predicates must apply. In this instance, both the State and the Defendant agreed that five of the six predicates were not applicable, but debated whether the Defendant was under arrest for OWI, another possible predicate. In fact, he was under arrest for interference, having been so informed. The Court of Appeals ruled that the arrest predicate required not just any arrest, but “arrest for violation for section 321J.2”, and under section 804.14, a proper manner of arrest requires that the officer inform the Defendant for what he is being arrested, and since the officer did not inform him that he was under arrest for OWI/321J.2 prior to invoking implied consent, the requisite condition precedent did not exist. Hence, the breath test was not required, and the jury should not be informed of the request or the refusal.
Iowa Court of Appeals rules that “firing at or into a building” charge does not apply to a patio or appurtenance, for a patio is not a building.
Successful appeal regarding an expungement of an old case for my client. Initially, the magistrate denied the motion to expunge, holding that an exclusion statute applied to local ordinances. Upon further appeal, the district court ruled in my client’s favor, holding that the state exclusion statute did not apply to my client’s conviction.
Iowa Supreme Court holds that in a murder case, if the Defendant raises the argument that the decedent committed suicide, past medical records that support that defense should be admitted into evidence, as well as allowing expert testimony and lay testimony regarding the decedent’s suicidal ideation and attempts.
OWI case dismissed! Review of the video revealed that there was an insufficient constitutional basis to stop my client’s vehicle. The State agreed, an unopposed suppression motion was granted, the case has been dismissed, and my client will not be losing his driver’s license.
Iowa Supreme Court holds that the right of confrontation includes the right to an in person live cross-examination of an accuser or witness, as opposed to video conference testimony. However, there may be exceptions, and the Court has not yet ruled upon whether COVID provides an exception to the rule.
Iowa Supreme Court rules that the Iowa Code section 321J.11 right to independent testing is not violated when a Defendant asks for a re-test on the Datamaster and is given a re-test on that machine. Although the Defendant has a right to an independent test of blood or urine, as long as the officer gives the Defendant the test which he requests, there is no violation unless the Defendant specifically requests a different kind of test.
Iowa Department of Transportation rescinds license revocation as a result of the violation of my client’s 804.20 rights to a phone call to an attorney or family member.