UPDATES & ANALYSIS

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Opinions in five cases to be handed down by Iowa Supreme Court Friday

by Rox Laird | February 18, 2021

The Iowa Supreme Court is expected to release opinions in five cases Friday, February 19, 2021. Below are On Brief’s previously published summaries of four of these cases. Go to On Brief’s Cases in the Pipeline page to read briefs filed with the Court in the appeals.

State v. Buman (previous On Brief summary here)

Argued Nov. 17

Issue: May the nursing standard of care in Iowa Administrative Rules be applied in a criminal prosecution?

The State seeks further review of a divided July 1 Iowa Court of Appeals ruling reversing and remanding Michael Buman’s conviction by a Plymouth County jury on a charge of wanton neglect of a resident in a health care facility. Buman, a registered nurse, is accused of discontinuing a resident’s medication without a doctor’s authorization. Buman argues that the District Court’s jury instruction was misleading by confusing the Iowa Administrative Rules’ standard of care for a license revocation with elements of a criminal offense. The State argues that there is nothing improper in quoting a standard of professional care contained in an exhibit and informing the jury how it could consider that standard in its deliberations.

State v. Struve (previous On Brief summary here)

 Argued Sept. 16

Question: Was a traffic stop justified if the driver was not texting but scrolling through pictures on his cell phone?

Steven Edward Struve appeals his conviction in Clinton County District Court for possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver. Struve argues Clinton police officers lacked probable cause to stop his vehicle and to search his vehicle. Officers testified they observed Struve swiping his thumb across the illuminated screen of his cell phone while driving as the basis for making the traffic stop for illegally texting while driving. Struve argues the statute allows certain cell phone uses while driving, such as GPS navigation, and that he was scrolling through pictures, not texting, and the stop was thus unwarranted.

In the Matter of the Guardianship and Conservatorship of Vernon D. Radda (previous On Brief summary here)

Argued Jan. 21

Issue: May a determination about the testamentary capacity of a person subject to a conservatorship be made while the person is alive?

Barbara and Kevin Kiene, respectively the sister and brother-in-law of Vernon D. Radda, appeal a Washington County District Court ruling that a determination regarding the testamentary capacity of a person subject to a conservatorship may not be made after the person has executed wills and while the person is still alive. The Kienes urge the Supreme Court to hold that they have standing to seek a declaratory judgment determining whether Radda lacked the necessary testamentary capacity to execute two wills, and that such action may be brought while Radda is alive.

In the interest of D.D., Minor Child (previous On Brief summary here)

 Issue: Should a Child In Need of Assistance proceeding be terminated?

Argued Oct. 14

The father of minor child D.D. seeks further review of a divided July 1 Iowa Court of Appeals decision affirming a Des Moines County District Court dismissal of a Child In Need of Assistance proceeding, allowing the child to be returned to her mother and her step-father, who had been accused of sexual abuse of D.D. Two members of the appeals court panel agreed with dismissing the CINA proceeding, with one member dissenting.

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