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Decisions expected from Iowa Supreme Court in two cases Friday

by Rox Laird | February 4, 2021

The Iowa Supreme Court is expected to release opinions in two cases Friday, February 5, 2021. Below are On Brief’s previously published summaries of these cases. Go to On Brief’s Cases in the Pipeline page to read briefs filed with the Court in these appeals.

State v. Thompson (previously summarized here)

Submitted to the Court Sept. 17, 2020, without oral argument

Question: Did the Legislature breach constitutional separation of powers by barring pro se filings by defendants who are represented by counsel?

Howard J. Thompson appeals his convictions in Scott County District Court on two counts of committing fraudulent acts to attempt to obtain controlled substances with false prescriptions. In addition to challenging his convictions, Thompson urges the Supreme Court to rule that the Iowa General Assembly violated constitutional separation of powers when it enacted legislation in 2019 barring a defendant who is represented by counsel from filing any pro se documents or briefs, and barring courts from considering such pro se filings. Thompson urges the Court to consider his pro se brief and arguments to determine whether there was sufficient evidence to support his conviction.

State of Iowa ex rel. Gary Dickey v. Jason Besler (previously summarized here)

Issue: Was appellant wrongly denied the right to challenge the appointment of a District Court judge?

Submitted to the Court Oct. 15, 2020, without oral argument.

Gary Dickey appeals a Polk County District Court ruling denying his application to file a petition for a writ of quo warranto to pursue his argument that Gov. Kim Reynolds’ appointment of defendant Jason Besler to a District Court vacancy was not made within the constitutionally required 30-day period. The District Court held that Besler’s appointment was effective at the time the governor verbally communicated her decision to her chief of staff.

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