UPDATES & ANALYSIS

11.12

Iowa Supreme Court to hear arguments in seven appeals Tuesday and Wednesday

by Rox Laird | November 12, 2021

The Iowa Supreme Court will hear arguments in seven cases Nov. 16 and 17, and seven other cases will be submitted to the court without oral arguments.

Following are brief summaries of the November cases. Go to On Brief’s “Cases in the Pipeline” page to read briefs submitted to the Supreme Court in these cases.

 

State v. Davis

Scheduled for oral argument Nov. 16, 9 a.m.

Issue: Should a trial court have used new American Bar Association model jury instructions in defendant’s murder trial?

Ethan Davis seeks further review of a Dec. 16, 2020, Iowa Court of Appeals ruling affirming his conviction by an Appanoose County jury of first-degree murder. Among the issues Davis raises on appeal: 1) The District Court erred in submitting an older version of an ABA model jury instruction on the reasonable doubt standard rather than Davis’ proposed jury instruction, which used the most recent ABA model instruction; 2) the trial court erred in preventing him from using language from the new ABA model instruction in his closing argument; and 3) the trial court erred in the form of its instruction submitted to the jury rather than the ABA-approved instruction Davis requested after the jury indicated it was deadlocked.

 

State v. Cungtion

Scheduled for oral argument Nov. 16, 9 a.m.

Issue: Did an Iowa court have jurisdiction over a Meskwaki Settlement criminal case after Congress reasserted federal authority for prosecuting crimes committed on the Settlement?

Christopher Lee Cungtion Jr. appeals the Tama County District Court’s revocation in February 2020 of his 2018 deferred judgment for probation violations and entry of a judgment of conviction for willful injury causing bodily injury to Indian victims. Cungtion argues the District Court was stripped of jurisdiction in his case by an Act of Congress signed into law Dec. 11, 2018, repealing a 1948 federal statute that granted the State of Iowa jurisdiction for crimes committed by or against Indians on the Meskwaki Indian Settlement. Thus, while the State had jurisdiction to prosecute Cungtion and to grant deferred judgment as of November 2018, he argues the District Court no longer had jurisdiction to revoke his deferred judgment after the 1948 federal law was repealed.

Amicus curiae briefs in support of the State’s position that it retained jurisdiction in Cungtion’s case were filed with the Court by the Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa (also known as the Meskwaki), and by the U.S. Department of Justice on behalf of the federal government.

 

State v. Bear

Will be submitted to the Court without oral argument Nov. 16.

Issue: Should a federal statute stripping Iowa of jurisdiction over offenses committed on the Meskwaki Indian Settlement have been applied retroactively?

Hollis Bear appeals his conviction in Tama County District Court for first-offense domestic abuse assault causing bodily injury and criminal mischief. Bear, a Native American and resident of the Meskwaki Indian Settlement in Tama County, argues that the trial court erred in denying his motion to dismiss based on his argument that the State court lacked jurisdiction to prosecute his case because Congress enacted a federal law on Dec. 11, 2018, that repealed a 1948 law that had conferred jurisdiction on the State of Iowa over offenses committed by or against Indians on the Tama County reservation. The trial court denied Bear’s motion to dismiss, saying that the criminal charges against Bear were filed on Nov. 16, 2018, prior to enactment of the federal statute; thus, Iowa had jurisdiction prior to Dec. 11, 2018. Bear argues that because his case was pending when Iowa’s jurisdiction was stripped by repeal of the 1948 statute, the Iowa Supreme Court should apply the 2018 federal repeal retroactively and remand his case for dismissal.

Amicus curiae briefs in support of the State’s position that it retained jurisdiction in Bear’s case were filed with the Court by the Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa (also known as the Meskwaki), and by the U.S. Department of Justice on behalf of the federal government.

 

State v. Veal

Will be submitted to the Court without oral argument Nov. 16.

Issue: Does Iowa’s rule of criminal procedure excluding felons from jury service cause unconstitutional underrepresentation of African-Americans on juries?

Peter Veal appeals the Cerro Gordo County District Court’s decision denying his bid for a new trial based on his claim that his constitutional right to a jury drawn from a fair cross-section of the community was violated. Veal, who is black, was convicted by an all-white jury of first-degree murder and attempted murder in 2017. The Iowa Supreme Court in 2019 remanded his case to consider his Sixth Amendment claim. Veal argues that the mandatory exclusion of felons in the Iowa Rules of Criminal Procedure from jury service resulted in the systematic exclusion and underrepresentation of both black and Hispanic individuals from jury pool, particularly for black individuals because there are proportionally more felons among that population.

An amicus curiae brief in support of Veal’s appeal was filed with the Court by the NAACP. The civil rights group argues that Iowa’s criminal procedure “Rule 2.18(5)(a)’s life-time automatic exclusion from jury service of persons with a felony conviction, including persons who had their rights restored, constitutes systematic exclusion.”

 

Ripperger v. Iowa Public Information Board

Scheduled for oral argument Nov. 16, 1:30 p.m.

Issue: Did the Polk County Assessor violate the Iowa Public Records Act by refusing to release the names of property owners who requested their properties not be searchable on the Assessor’s website?

Polk County Assessor Randy Ripperger appeals the Polk County District Court’s decision on judicial review affirming the Iowa Public Information Board’s decision that Ripperger violated Iowa’s Open Records Act by refusing to release to a reporter the names of private property owners who requested their properties not be searchable by name on the Polk County Assessor’s website. On appeal, Ripperger argues that under Iowa Code Chapter 23, which creates the Public Information Board, the board must prove that Ripperger violated the Open Records Act. To prove a violation of the Open Records Act, he argues, the IPIB must prove that the records in question were not deemed confidential under the Act. The Board “failed to recognize — let alone meet — this statutory duty,” Ripperger argues. Ripperger argues that the records in question are specifically exempt from disclosure by Iowa Code section 22.7(18), which provides for confidentiality of communications to a government body from persons who reasonably would be discouraged from making the communications if they were available for general public examination.

 

State v. Rincon

Scheduled for oral argument Nov. 16, 1:30 p.m.

Issue: Was a police search of a backpack removed by the passenger of a vehicle stopped by police a violation of the Fourth Amendment?

Myranda Rincon appeals from her conviction in Polk County District Court for possession of marijuana as a second or subsequent offense. Rincon argues the trial court erred in denying her motion to suppress evidence from the warrantless search of her backpack, which she took with her when exiting a vehicle in which she had been a passenger. The District Court held that Rincon had no expectation of privacy regarding the backpack because officers making the stop had probable cause to believe the detained vehicle was transporting contraband. Rincon argues on appeal that her mere presence as a passenger in a stolen vehicle does not rise to probable cause and that she had the right to be free from an unreasonable and warrantless search of her effects by the Fourth and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution and Article I, Section 8 of the Iowa Constitution.

 

In the interest of L.B., minor child

Will be submitted to the Court without oral argument Nov. 16.

Issue: Were a father’s parental rights wrongly terminated by a juvenile court?

The father of L.B. seeks further review of a Sept. 1 Iowa Court of Appeals decision affirming a Woodbury County District Court decision terminating his parental rights to L.B. The Court of Appeals, in a 2-1 ruling, agreed with the District Court that the juvenile court was correct in terminating the father’s parental rights. A dissenting opinion argued there was no Child in Need of Assistance (CINA) order in force at the time the petition to terminate parental rights was filed and as a result the juvenile court was without authority to terminate the father’s parental rights.

 

Great Western Bank v. Clement

Scheduled for oral argument Nov. 17, 9 a.m.

Issue: Did appellant properly exercise the right of redemption for property sold at sheriff’s sale, and was the correct default interest rate set by the district court on the purchase?

Sue Ann Dougan and Wayne Mlady both seek further review of a Dec. 16, 2020, decision of the Iowa Court of Appeals affirming in part and reversing in part a Howard County District Court ruling that Dougan timely exercised the right of redemption for farmland sold at sheriff’s sale while disagreeing with Dougan on the correct interest rate for the redemption in this case. This case, which has twice been before the Court of Appeals, involves farmland previously owned by Conrad Clement subject to a mortgage from Great Western Bank. The bank foreclosed when Clement failed to meet terms of the mortgage, and Mlady purchased the property at sheriff’s sale. Dougan paid $1.7 million to redeem the property after Clement assigned his right of redemption to her.

An amicus curiae brief was filed with the Court by the Iowa Bankers Association arguing the Court of Appeals properly affirmed that the applicable interest rate for redemption under Iowa Code section 628.13 was 21%.

 

Hills and Dales Child Development Center v. Iowa Department of Education, et al.

Scheduled for oral argument Nov. 17, 9 a.m.

Issue: Did the Iowa Department of Education exceed its authority in an order that federal law may be violated by removing a child from school for private therapy sessions?

Hills and Dales Child Development Center appeals a Dubuque County District Court decision on judicial review that the Iowa Department of Education did not exceed its authority in issuing a declaratory order that, under Iowa Code Chapter 299A, a public agency is not required to excuse a student for therapy, with or without a physician’s excuse, and that a public agency that excuses a child for therapy may violate the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act because the child is held out of school for private therapy. Hills and Dales, a private non-profit that provides services to children and adults with intellectual disabilities, provides physician-prescribed “Applied Behavioral Analysis” (ABA) treatment to Dubuque Community School District students who are removed from their classes for treatment. Hills and Dales argues that as a licensed treatment facility it has a legal obligation to carry out these services.

 

State v. Jackson-Douglass

Will be submitted to the Court without oral argument Nov. 17.

Issues: Were defendant’s rights violated by a statutory bar on appeals such as his, was he denied effective assistance of counsel, and did the trial judge err at sentencing?

Veil Jackson-Douglass appeals from his conviction in Black Hawk District Court for third-degree sexual abuse. Jackson-Douglass raises several claims on appeal. Among them he argues: (1) Iowa Code sections 814.6 and 814.7 violate his constitutional rights by barring appeals from a conviction following a guilty plea and by barring claims of ineffective assistance of counsel on direct appeal; (2) he was provided ineffective assistance by his trial counsel’s failure to file a motion in arrest of judgment challenging Jackson-Douglass’ guilty plea because it was not made “voluntarily and intelligently”; (3) the trial court misinterpreted his pro se motion; and (4) the trial court violated Iowa Rule of Criminal Procedure 2.23(3)(a) at sentencing.

 

State v. Shontez Hall

Scheduled for oral argument Nov. 17, 1:30 p.m.

Issue: Was a defendant wrongly convicted of suborning perjury and obstructing prosecution?

Kourtney Shontez Hall seeks further review of a May 12 Iowa Court of Appeals ruling affirming his conviction by the Polk County District Court on two counts of suborning perjury and two counts of obstructing prosecution. The Court of Appeals also held that there was no abuse of discretion by the trial court in admitting video testimony and in overruling Shontez Hall’s motion for a new trial because the jury’s verdict was contrary to the weight of the evidence in his case. Shontez Hall asks the Iowa Supreme Court to dismiss his case or remand for a new trial.

 

Askvig v. Snap-On Tools

Will be submitted to the Court without oral argument Nov. 17.

Issue: Did the Iowa Supreme Court’s order extending filing deadlines due to Covid-19 include judicial review of an agency action in a contested case?

Jennifer Askvig appeals a decision of the Polk County District Court dismissing her petition for judicial review of the Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner’s decision regarding her application for workers’ compensation benefits. The district court held that it did not have jurisdiction because the Iowa Supreme Court’s Covid-19 supervisory order No. 33 extending certain filing deadlines did not apply to judicial review of a final agency action in a contested case. Askvig concedes that she failed to meet the filing deadline, but she argues the District Court erred when it determined that the Supreme Court’s supervisory order and its supplement did not apply to the limitations for seeking judicial review of an agency’s final decision in a contested case. Askvig also argues the District Court erred by not considering whether her filing had been in substantial compliance with Iowa Code section 17A.19(3).

 

McNaughton v. Chartier, et al.

Will be submitted to the Court without oral argument Nov. 17.

Issue: Was a private easement dedicated to the public when the city was authorized to pave a street over it?

Jeanine and Stanley Chartier seek further review of a June 16 Iowa Court of Appeals ruling reversing the Woodbury County District Court’s decision regarding an easement across Willard McNaughton’s property that provides access to the Chartiers’ land adjacent to his. The question in this case is whether McNaughton dedicated the easement to the public after the City of Lawton paved a street over the easement. The District Court ruled that the easement had always been treated as a public easement and there were no restrictions on its use for nearly 20 years. The Court of Appeals reversed, saying the clear intent of the easement agreement was to create a private, personal, and non-transferable easement.

 

Carlson v. Second Succession, et al.

Will be submitted to the Court without oral argument Nov. 17.

Issue: Should a re-filed civil petition initially rejected by the court clerk have been related back to the date of the original filing for statute-of-limitations purposes?

Patricia Carlson seeks further review of a June 16 Iowa Court of Appeals ruling affirming the Linn County District Court’s dismissal of her personal-injury lawsuit against appellees Second Succession, Iowa Commercial Advisors, and Jones Property Services. The District Court ruled that Carlson’s amended petition was filed one day after the expiration of the two-year statute-of-limitations deadline in Iowa Code 614.1(2). Carlson’s first petition was rejected by the court clerk because the cover sheet did not include a birthdate and a Social Security number. Carlson refiled the petition with a complete cover sheet. The District Court subsequently granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss on grounds that the amended petition was filed after the statute-of-limitations deadline. Carlson argues her prompt refiling should relate back to the original, timely, filing.

 

SHARE

FEATURED POSTS

APPELLATE CALENDAR

Events Calendar

« November 2021 » loading...
M T W T F S S
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
1
2
3
4
5
  • Iowa Supreme Court Oral Arguments
  • Iowa Supreme Court Opinion and/or Further Review Conference
  • Iowa Court of Appeals Oral Arguments
  • Holidays

EDITORIAL TEAM

ABOUT

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.

RELATED BLOGS

Related Links

ARCHIVES