UPDATES & ANALYSIS

1.23

U.S. Supreme Court denies appeal in Iowa City murder case

by Rox Laird | January 23, 2017

The U.S. Supreme Court Monday denied an appeal of an Iowa Supreme Court ruling that ordered a new trial for Justin Alexander Marshall who was convicted of first-degree murder for the 2009 shooting of an Iowa City landlord.

The Iowa Supreme Court in June ruled that the trial court erred in allowing testimony of a jailhouse informant. The Court concluded that the informant, acting as an agent of the State, “plainly deliberately elicited information from Marshall.” Thus, that testimony cannot be used against Marshall without violating his right to counsel under the Sixth Amendment.

The decision, which was handed down June 30, on the Court’s final day of the 2015-16 term, covered nearly 100 pages. That included the majority opinion by Justice Brent Appel (joined by Chief Justice Mark Cady and Justices David Wiggins and Daryl Hecht) and a dissent by Justice Edward Mansfield (joined by Justices Thomas Waterman and Bruce Zager).

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to review the ruling of the Iowa Supreme Court. The Court, without comment, denied the appeal Monday.

That presumably means Alexander will be retried, as Johnson County Attorney Janet Lyness earlier told the Cedar Rapids Gazette that was her intent.

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