UPDATES & ANALYSIS

10.18

Nine cases to be argued before Iowa Supreme Court Oct. 21 and 22

by Rox Laird | October 18, 2019

The Iowa Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in nine cases Oct. 21 and 22, and four cases will be submitted to the Court without oral argument. Following are brief summaries of the cases set for argument. Go to On Brief’s Cases in the Pipeline page to read the briefs in these appeals.

State v. Booth-Harris

Set for oral argument Oct. 21, 9 a.m.

Earl Booth-Harris seeks further review of an April 3 Iowa Court of Appeals ruling affirming his conviction by a Des Moines County jury of first-degree murder. Booth-Harris argues that a witness’s identification of him at the scene of the shooting should have been suppressed by the trial court. The U.S. Supreme Court has held that “impermissibly suggestive or unreliable identification procedures” violate constitutional due process, not per se but based on a totality-of-circumstances test. Booth-Harris urges the Iowa Supreme Court to establish a per se rule under the Iowa Constitution.

In re 2018 Grand Jury of Dallas County v. John Doe

Set for oral argument Oct. 21, 9 a.m.

The defendant, identified here as John Doe due to confidential grand jury proceedings, appeals the Dallas County District Court’s denial of his motion to quash the grand jury proceedings, his motion to quash the prosecutor’s subpoena of an expert defendant retained to assist in his defense, and his motion to disqualify the prosecutor for making the ex parte contact with his expert. Doe argues the prosecutor’s ex parte contact and subpoena of his expert would give the prosecutor access to the expert’s privileged testimony and to his defense strategy.

State v. Doolin

Set for oral argument Oct. 21, 9 a.m.

Tony Eugene Doolin seeks further review of a March 6 Iowa Court of Appeals ruling affirming his conviction by a Black Hawk County District Court jury of intimidation with a dangerous weapon, assault while participating in a felony, and carrying weapons. Doolin asks the Supreme Court to grant a new trial on the first two counts and acquittal on the weapons charge. He argues his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to object to an in-court victim’s identification of Doolin, two years after the crime, and when the defendant was sitting at the counsel table next to his lawyer.

State v. Meyers

Will be submitted to the Court Oct. 21 without oral argument.

Jeffrey Alan Meyers appeals his conviction by the Guthrie County District Court of boating while intoxicated. Conservation officers stopped Meyers’ pontoon boat on Lake Panorama for a “blue light” violation. Meyers argues the warrantless stop violated his rights under the federal and state constitutions because Iowa’s statute, which bars boats operating “under the jurisdiction of the Conservation Commission” from displaying blue lights unless they are authorized emergency vessels, does not apply to Lake Panorama because it is a private lake, not a public waterway.

State v. Bynum

Set for oral argument Oct. 21, 1:30 p.m.

Earnest B. Bynum appeals a May 1 decision of the Iowa Court of Appeals affirming his conviction by a Linn County District Court jury on a charge of making a false police report. Earnest Bynum, an African-American, argues that the racial composition of the jury pool violated his Sixth Amendment right to an impartial jury. Two African-Americans were among 35 potential petit jurors called in for Bynum’s and an unrelated civil trial. Both African-Americans were removed from the pool before Bynum’s jury was selected.

Ferguson v. Exide Technologies and Fred Gilbert

Set for oral argument Oct. 21, 1:30 p.m.

Exide Technologies appeals the Delaware County District Court’s denial of its motion for summary judgment on plaintiff’s claim of wrongful discharge in violation of public policy, and that plaintiff was entitled to substantial attorney fees and expenses on her statutory claim of a drug-testing statute violation. Exide argues that the drug-testing statute prescribes a remedy for a violation of the statute for an improper drug test, and that plaintiff should not have been allowed to make a parallel common law wrongful-discharge claim based on a violation of that same statute in which she sought punitive damages and damages for emotional distress.

Navarro Jones v. State

Set for oral argument Oct. 22, 9 a.m.

Michael Navarro Jones appeals the Black Hawk County District Court’s dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief for his 2007 conviction for first-degree robbery and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Jones’ pro se petition fell outside the statute of limitations. Jones argues that he should be able to claim his constitutional right to a jury drawn from a fair cross-section of the community was violated at trial under the Iowa Supreme Court’s 2017 decision in State v. Plain because he could not have raised that claim within the three-year statute of limitation. Jones argues that the Plain decision should be applied retroactively.

Karon and Peddler v. Elliott Aviation, et al.

Set for oral argument Oct. 22, 9 a.m.

Roy Karon and Peddler LLC appeal the Polk County District Court’s dismissal of plaintiffs’ claims for breach of an oral contract, fraudulent misrepresentation, and breach of fiduciary duty against Elliott Aviation. The trial court found that a question of proper venue was governed by the Iowa Supreme Court’s 1996 decision in Dacres v. John Deere Insurance Co.

Marcus News Inc. v. O’Brien County Board of Supervisors and Iowa Information Inc.

Will be submitted to the Court Oct. 22 without oral argument.

The Marcus News appeals a decision of the O’Brien County District Court ruling affirming a decision of the O’Brien County Board of Supervisors recognizing the two newspapers published by intervenor Iowa Information as the official county newspapers for publication of official notices, rejecting the Marcus News application for its two newspapers combined to be recognized as one of two official newspapers in the county. The Iowa Newspaper Association filed an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief with the Court in this case in support of the District Court’s decision. [Disclosure: The Newspaper Association’s amicus brief was written by Nyemaster Goode attorneys Keith Duffy and Joseph Quinn.]

State v. Baltazar

Set for oral argument Oct. 22, 1:30 p.m.

The State seeks further review of a May 15 decision of the Iowa Court of Appeals reversing and remanding for a new trial Miguel Angel Lorenzo Baltazar’s conviction in Polk County District Court for first-degree murder. The Court of Appeals held that Iowa’s “stand your ground” statute as amended in 2017 meant the jury was incorrectly instructed.  The State argues that a person engaged in criminal activity has a duty to retreat before using deadly force under that law.

Dewberry v. State

Set for argument Oct. 22, 2019, 1:30 p.m.

The State seeks further review of a May 15 Iowa Court of Appeals ruling reversing the Decatur County District Court’s denial of David Palmer Dewberry’s application for postconviction relief and remanding for a full hearing on Dewberry’s actual innocence claim. The State argues Dewberry is not actually innocent of robbery when he is guilty of a lesser included offense.

Whitlow v. McConnaha

Will be submitted to the Court Oct. 22 without oral argument.

Ron and Jodi McConnaha seek further review of a May 1 Iowa Court of Appeals ruling reversing a Muscatine County District Court ruling granting a new trial following an error in a jury verdict finding one defendant was not at fault for a motorcycle-tractor accident while failing to address the second defendant. The appeals court reversed the ruling granting a new trial only for the second defendant and remanded the case for a complete retrial for both defendants.

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