Iowa Supreme Court expected to release opinions in three cases Friday

by Rox Laird | May 27, 2021

Opinions in three cases are expected to be released by the Iowa Supreme Court Friday, May 28. Following are On Brief’s previously published summaries of two of those cases. Go to On Brief’s Cases in the Pipeline page to read briefs filed with the Court in these appeals. (An opinion in a third case is expected to be released, Iowa Supreme Court Attorney Disciplinary Bd. v. Widdison on review from grievance commission.)


NCJC, Inc. v. WMG, L.C.

Argued Feb. 17, 2021

Issue: Were attorney fees correctly allocated between parties in a farm lease dispute?

Both NCJC and WMG, opposing parties to a farm lease dispute, seek further review of a May 13, 2020, Iowa Court of Appeals decision affirming in part and reversing in part the Kossuth County District Court’s decision denying WMG’s request for attorney fees and costs and awarding attorney fees to NCJC as the prevailing party. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s denial of WMG’s request for attorney fees but reversed its award of attorney fees to NCJC that includes fees for services provided after WMG’s offer to confess. WMG urges the Supreme Court to reverse the trial court as to NCJC’s and WMG’s attorney fees. NCJC urges the Court to rule that the District Court correctly awarded legal fees to NCJC and did not commit legal error in determining the amount of the award.


State v. Treptow

Issue: Was appellant’s guilty plea invalid; and, are legislative limits on appeals unconstitutional?

Argued Oct. 14, 2020

David J. Treptow appeals his conviction on drug charges in Buchanan County District Court following his guilty plea. Treptow urges the Court to vacate his guilty plea and sentence for one of the charges, saying there was no factual basis in the record for his plea. Treptow also asks the Court to find that the Iowa General Assembly breached constitutional separation-of-powers with 2019 legislation that curtailed defendants’ right to appeal judgments and sentences based on guilty pleas in certain prosecutions, and which prohibits Iowa appellate courts from deciding an ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claim on direct appeal in a criminal proceeding. Treptow urges the Court to adopt a “plain error” rule, which would allow appellate review of constitutional challenges not preserved at the trial court level.





Iowa Constitution mandates face-to-face confrontation by witness, Iowa Supreme Court rules

A defendant’s right under the Iowa Constitution to confront witnesses at trial is not satisfied by one-way video testimony where the witness testifying on camera is not able to see the defendant, the Iowa Supreme Court held in a 4-3 ruling handed down June 28. In reaching that conclusion, the Court declined to follow a U.S. Supreme Court precedent and overruled one of its own prior rulings.

April 2024 Opinion Roundup

The Iowa Supreme Court entered opinions in nine cases during April 2024.  Opinions from April not covered elsewhere on the blog are summarized below.



On Brief: Iowa’s Appellate Blog is devoted to appellate litigation with a focus on the Iowa Supreme Court, the Iowa Court of Appeals, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.


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