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Most Recent Court of Appeals Summaries

For summaries from opinions prior to August, 2018, view PDF versions here

Opinion Summaries

Case No. 18-0268:  State of Iowa v. Quarzone Erikey Martin

Filed Jul 01, 2020

View Opinion No. 18-0268

      Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Patrick R. Grady, Judge. REVERSED AND REMANDED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Doyle and Schumacher, JJ.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  (14 pages)

            Quarzone Erikdey Martin appeals from convictions for second-degree murder, willful injury causing serious injury, and going armed with intent, asserting the court erred in instructing the jury, abused its discretion in rejecting the evidence as to the decedent’s violent character, and in denying his motion for mistrial.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the trial court erred in giving an instruction implementing Iowa Code section 704.2B (2017), we reverse and remand for a new trial. 

Case No. 18-1737:  State of Iowa v. Mario Goodson

Filed Jul 01, 2020

View Opinion No. 18-1737

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Joel Dalrymple, Linda M. Fangman, and George L. Stigler, Judges.  CONVICTIONS AFFIRMED, SENTENCE VACATED IN PART, AND REMANDED FOR RESENTENCING.  Heard by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Doyle and May, JJ.  Opinion by May, J. (20 pages)

            Mario Goodson appeals his convictions and sentence.  He now appeals raising multiple arguments, including: (1) bad-acts evidence was improperly admitted; (2) the trial judge should have recused himself from the trial and the hearings on the post-trial motions; (3) the first-degree burglary and third-degree sexual abuse offenses should merge; and (4) his sentence is illegal because it specifies a duration for sex-offender-registry obligations.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm the convictions and find (1) the bad-acts evidence was admissible, (2) Goodson did not preserve error on the recusal claims, and (3) because we believe the legislature intended separate punishments for first-degree burglary and third-degree sexual assault, we find merger was not appropriate.  (4) But we do vacate Goodson’s sentence in part and remanded for resentencing.

Case No. 19-0049:  State of Iowa v. Scott A. Thompson

Filed Jul 01, 2020

View Opinion No. 19-0049

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Heather Lauber, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Doyle and Schumacher, JJ.  Opinion by Doyle, J.  (3 pages)

            On interlocutory appeal, Scott Thompson challenges the district court’s denial of his request for a pretrial hearing on immunity from prosecution under Iowa’s “stand your ground” law.  OPINION HOLDS: Under State v. Wilson, 941 N.W.2d 579 (Iowa 2020), Thompson is not entitled to a pretrial hearing. 

Case No. 19-0225:  Gatluak Chuol Bol v. State of Iowa

Filed Jul 01, 2020

View Opinion No. 19-0225

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Marshall County, James A. McGlynn, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., Doyle and May, JJ.  Opinion by May, J.  (7 pages)

            Gatluak Bol appeals the dismissal of his postconviction-relief application.  He asserts he received ineffective assistance of counsel.  OPINION HOLDS: We conclude Bol has not established any of his ineffective-assistance claims.  So we affirm the dismissal of his application.

Case No. 19-0331:  Joel Smitherman v. State of Iowa

Filed Jul 01, 2020

View Opinion No. 19-0331

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Hardin County, James A. McGlynn, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Doyle and Schumacher, JJ.  Opinion by Schumacher, J.  (7 pages)

            Joel Smitherman appeals the district court’s dismissal of his fourth application for postconviction relief (PCR).  OPINION HOLDS: Smitherman is not entitled to relief under Allison v. State, 914 N.W.2d 866, 891 (Iowa 2018).  Also, he has not shown he received ineffective assistance from his PCR counsel in this case.  We affirm the decision of the district court.

Case No. 19-0362:  State of Iowa v. D'Marithe Culbreath

Filed Jul 01, 2020

View Opinion No. 19-0362

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Mary E. Howes, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and May and Greer, JJ.  Opinion by Greer, J.  (4 pages)

            D’Marithe Culbreath appeals from his convictions of first-degree murder, first-degree robbery, and conspiracy to commit first-degree burglary.  He argues the district court abused its discretion in admitting a multiple-hour video of police interviewing him because, during the interview, a detective asked Culbreath if a codefendant thought Culbreath had guns and Culbreath replied, “Could.”  He maintains this was prior-bad-acts evidence that should have been kept out of trial.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the claim Culbreath brings on appeal was not preserved for our review, we affirm.

Case No. 19-0401:  State of Iowa v. Joseph R. Desalme

Filed Jul 01, 2020

View Opinion No. 19-0401

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Heather Lauber, Judge.  REVERSED AND REMANDED.  Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Mullins and Ahlers, JJ.  Opinion by Vaitheswaran, P.J. (8 pages)

            Joseph Desalme challenges his convictions for second-degree robbery and first-degree theft.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the record lacks substantial evidence to support a finding of Desalme’s intent to permanently deprive the owners of their vehicles or purses, we reverse and remand.

Case No. 19-0457:  State of Iowa v. Rudy Chase Stroud

Filed Jul 01, 2020

View Opinion No. 19-0457

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Ian K. Thornhill, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., Ahlers, J., and Scott, S.J.  Opinion by Scott, S.J.  (6 pages)

            Rudy Stroud appeals his criminal convictions arguing his counsel was ineffective in failing to object to a jury instruction as an incorrect statement of the law.  OPINION HOLDS: We find counsel breached an essential duty in failing to object, but Stroud suffered no prejudice, and counsel was therefore not ineffective.  We affirm Stroud’s convictions.

Case No. 19-0466:  In re the Marriage of Andreas and Rockne

Filed Jul 01, 2020

View Opinion No. 19-0466

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Winneshiek County, John J. Bauercamper, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Doyle and Schumacher, JJ.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  (10 pages)

            Brian Andreas, now known as Kai Andreas Skye, appeals the property distribution provisions of the decree dissolving his thirty-four year marriage to Ellen Rockne.  OPINION HOLDS: On our de novo review, we find no failure to do equity in the district court’s decree or remand ruling.  We award Rockne appellate attorney fees.

Case No. 19-0641:  State of Iowa v. Justin L. Alexander

Filed Jul 01, 2020

View Opinion No. 19-0641

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Boone County, Stephen A. Owen, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Doyle and May, JJ.  Opinion by Vaitheswaran, P.J.  (6 pages)

            Justin Alexander appeals his convictions of domestic abuse assault (strangulation), domestic abuse assault while using or displaying a dangerous weapon, false imprisonment, criminal mischief, and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person.  On appeal, Alexander contends the district court should not have allowed him to represent himself.  He also contends his trial attorney was ineffective in several respects.  OPINION HOLDS: We agree with the district court that Alexander’s waiver of counsel was voluntary, clear, and unequivocal.  We preserve his ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claims for postconviction relief. 

Case No. 19-0779:  State of Iowa v. Wayne Patrick Gibson

Filed Jul 01, 2020

View Opinion No. 19-0779

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Ian K. Thornhill, Judge.  AFFIRMED ON CONDITION AND REMANDED WITH DIRECTIONS.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Doyle and Schumacher, JJ.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  (6 pages)

            Wayne Gibson appeals his convictions for second-degree and third-degree sexual abuse, claiming the district court erred in denying his motion challenging the jury’s composition.  OPINION HOLDS: Because Gibson did not have the benefit of either State v. Lilly, 930 N.W.2d 293, 301–08 (Iowa 2019), or State v. Veal, 930 N.W.2d 319, 328–330 (Iowa 2019), at the time of trial, we conditionally affirm and remand the matter to the district court to give Gibson an opportunity to develop his claim that his constitutional right to an impartial jury was violated.

Case No. 19-0784:  State of Iowa v. Daniel Lee White

Filed Jul 01, 2020

View Opinion No. 19-0784

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Jackson County, Mark D. Cleve, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by May, P.J., Greer, J., and Blane, S.J.  Opinion by May, J.  (7 pages)

            Daniel White was convicted of operating while intoxicated, second offense.  He argues there was insufficient evidence for his conviction.  And he alleges his trial counsel was ineffective.  OPINION HOLDS: We find sufficient evidence and affirm his conviction.  We also preserve his ineffective-assistance claim.

Case No. 19-0900:  State of Iowa v. Laquandra Monic Anderson

Filed Jul 01, 2020

View Opinion No. 19-0900

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Brook Jacobsen, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and May and Greer, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, P.J.  (7 pages)

            Laquandra Anderson entered written guilty pleas to five counts of third-degree theft.  She took items from Walmart stores in Waterloo and Cedar Falls.  The court ordered her to serve a prison term not to exceed two years running the five sentences concurrently.  She now appeals those convictions, alleging her attorney was ineffective in allowing her to enter the guilty pleas.  OPINION HOLDS: The information provided in Anderson’s written plea forms substantially complied with Iowa Rule of Criminal Procedure 2.8(2)(b).  Also, we find counsel had no duty to insist on a Harrington-like colloquy for these aggravated-misdemeanor guilty pleas.  Last, we find no prejudice resulting from counsel’s performance in representing Anderson on these aggravated misdemeanor guilty pleas.

Case No. 19-0917:  State of Iowa v. Ronald Leroy Snipes

Filed Jul 01, 2020

View Opinion No. 19-0917

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Story County, Steven P. Van Marel, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Doyle and Schumacher, JJ.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  (4 pages)

            The issue in this case is whether the district court abused its discretion by suspending Snipes’s sentence and placing him on probation without explicitly articulating the factors it considered in doing so.  OPINION HOLDS: The district court’s decision was based on reasonable considerations, and we find no abuse of discretion.

Case No. 19-0981:  State of Iowa v. Michael Buman

Filed Jul 01, 2020

View Opinion No. 19-0981

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Plymouth County, Steven J. Andreasen, Judge.  CONVICTION REVERSED AND REMANDED.  Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Doyle and May, JJ.  Opinion by Doyle, J.  Dissent by May, J.  (14 pages)

            Michael Buman appeals his conviction of wanton neglect of a resident in a health care facility.  OPINION HOLDS: Because an exhibit listing the minimum standard of care for registered nurses and an instruction on the jury’s use of that exhibit could confuse the jury or lead it to misapply the law on the issue of whether Buman knowingly acted in a manner likely to injure the resident, we reverse Buman’s conviction and remand for new trial.  DISSENT ASSERTS: Although the jury instructions were probably not perfect, I do not think they misled the jury.  Reversal is not warranted.  I respectfully dissent.

Case No. 19-1235:  Donald King v. State of Iowa

Filed Jul 01, 2020

View Opinion No. 19-1235

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Lee (North) County, Mark E. Kruse, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Doyle and Schumacher, JJ.  Opinion by Doyle, J.  (2 pages)

            Donald King appeals the dismissal of his application for postconviction relief.  OPINION HOLDS: Although King asks us to overrule precedent holding Iowa Code section 704.1(3) (2018) does not apply retroactively, we are not at liberty to overturn Iowa Supreme Court precedent.  We therefore affirm.

Case No. 19-1291:  State of Iowa v. Dennis Wray Bonin

Filed Jul 01, 2020

View Opinion No. 19-1291

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Hardin County, James A. McGlynn and Amy M. Moore, Judges.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and May and Greer, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, P.J.  (6 pages)

            A defendant appeals his conviction and sentence for the aggravated misdemeanor offense of sexual exploitation by a school employee.  He contends the plea was not knowing and intelligent.  He also argues the court abused its discretion in denying his request for a deferred judgment.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the defendant received an appropriate advisory on how to challenge his plea, but did not do so, his first claim will have to wait until he seeks postconviction relief.  Finding no abuse of discretion in his sentencing, we affirm.

Case No. 19-1295:  In re the Marriage of Kelly

Filed Jul 01, 2020

View Opinion No. 19-1295

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Pottawattamie County, Kathleen A. Kilnoski, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and May and Greer, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, P.J.  (10 pages)

            Jami Mason appeals a modification ruling by the district court.  In the modification ruling, the district court directed Michael Kelly and Jami Mason to share the physical care of their two children.  The court also declined to hold Michael in contempt of the divorce decree.  OPINION HOLDS: We find Michael showed a substantial change in circumstances to justify modification.  And Jami did not prove that Michael willfully violated the decree.  We thus affirm the district court’s order.

Case No. 19-1670:  In re the Marriage of Del Real

Filed Jul 01, 2020

View Opinion No. 19-1670

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Sioux County, Zachary Hindman, Judge.  AFFIRMED AS MODIFIED.  Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Mullins and Ahlers, JJ.  Opinion by Vaitheswaran, P.J.  (12 pages)

            Ubaldo Del Real appeals from the decree dissolving his marriage to Gregoria Del Real, contending (1) the court failed to “imput[e] minimum wage to Gregoria for child support purposes” and (2) acted inequitably by not giving him “a greater portion of the marital equity.”  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm all provisions of the dissolution decree except the provisions approving the parents’ stipulation concerning custody of the youngest child and ordering custody of the youngest child to be placed with Gregoria, because we conclude the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to make a child custody determination involving the youngest child.  We therefore affirm as modified.

Case No. 19-1673:  In the Interest of M.S., Minor Child

Filed Jul 01, 2020

View Opinion No. 19-1673

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Marion County, Dustria A. Relph, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and May and Greer, JJ.  Opinion by Greer, J.  (7 pages)

            The father appeals the termination of his parental rights to his child, ten-year-old M.S., in an Iowa Code chapter 600A (2017) termination.  The district court found the father had abandoned M.S. pursuant to section 600A.8(3)(b), and termination of the father’s rights was in M.S.’s best interests.  The father challenges each of those conclusions on appeal.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm the termination of the father’s parental rights.

Case No. 19-1683:  Hadaway v. Hadaway

Filed Jul 01, 2020

View Opinion No. 19-1683

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Hamilton County, James C. Ellefson, Judge.  AFFIRMED IN PART, REVERSED IN PART, AND VACATED IN PART.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Mullins and Schumacher, JJ.  Opinion by Mullins, J.  (4 pages)

            Mark and Thomas Hadaway appeal a district court order regarding the dismissal of a petition for relief from elder abuse.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the district court’s assessment of costs against Mark and Thomas was in direct violation of the statute, it is reversed.  The district court’s finding regarding the necessity of litigation was irrelevant to the merits of the dismissal and attorney fee argument and is vacated.  We find the court did not abuse its discretion in denying the request for attorney fees.

Case No. 19-1786:  In re the Marriage of Edwards

Filed Jul 01, 2020

View Opinion No. 19-1786

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Fae E. Hoover, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Doyle and Schumacher, JJ.  Opinion by Doyle, J.  (11 pages)

            Matthew Edwards appeals provisions of the temporary order issued by the district court awarding temporary child and spousal support awards to Rachael Edwards.  OPINION HOLDS: Upon our de novo review of the record, we find no reason to disturb the district court’s temporary order awarding child and spousal support to Rachael, as well as the court’s decision not to address tax exemption designations at the time of the temporary order.  We decline to award appellate attorney fees.

Case No. 19-1795:  In re the Marriage of Hare

Filed Jul 01, 2020

View Opinion No. 19-1795

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Clay County, Carl J. Petersen, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and May and Greer, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, P.J.  (8 pages)

            Thomas Hare challenges the district court’s award of traditional spousal support to his former wife, Christina Hare.  He asks us to reduce the amount and duration of the support.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the district court’s spousal support ruling is reasonable based on the length of the marriage and the disparity in the parties’ earning, we affirm.  Also, ending Thomas’s alimony obligation at the point of his future retirement will ordinarily be considered to raise too many speculative issues to be considered in the initial spousal support award, so we see no reason to modify the decree.  We decline to award attorney fees on appeal.

Case No. 19-1869:  State of Iowa v. Iowa District Court for Jasper County

Filed Jul 01, 2020

View Opinion No. 19-1869

            Certiorari from the Iowa District Court for Jasper County, Thomas W. Mott, Judge.  WRIT SUSTAINED AND CASE REMANDED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and May and Greer, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, P.J.  (6 pages)

            The State appeals by certiorari the grant of a deferred sentence for violating a sex offender exclusion zone.  The State contends Iowa law bars that outcome.  OPINION HOLDS: The district court misread the relevant code sections as allowing it to grant a deferred sentence for this offense.  That option was not available.  Therefore, we sustain the writ of certiorari, vacate the court’s ruling, and remand for sentencing consistent with this opinion. 

Case No. 19-2131:  In the Interest of A.R., Minor Child

Filed Jul 01, 2020

View Opinion No. 19-2131

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Woodbury County, Mary L. Timko, Associate Juvenile Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by May, P.J., Greer, J., and Carr, S.J.  Opinion by Carr, S.J.  (6 pages)

            A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her child.  OPINION HOLDS: Because clear and convincing evidence supports the grounds for termination under Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(d) (2019), termination is in the child’s best interests, and there is no countervailing reason to not terminate parental rights, we affirm. 

Case No. 20-0330:  In the Interest of D.D., Minor Child

Filed Jul 01, 2020

View Opinion No. 20-0330

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Des Moines County, Emily Dean, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Doyle and Schumacher, JJ.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  Dissent by Schumacher, J.  (10 pages)

            The biological father of D.D. appeals the dismissal of the juvenile court’s child-in-need-of-assistance proceeding, contending the purposes of the dispositional order have not been accomplished.  OPINION HOLDS: On our de novo review, we conclude the purposes of the dispositional order have been sufficiently accomplished and the continuation of supervision, care,

Case No. 20-0402:  In the Interest of K.P., Minor Child

Filed Jul 01, 2020

View Opinion No. 20-0402

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Floyd County, Karen Kaufman Salic, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Ahlers, JJ.  Opinion by Ahlers, J.  (6 pages)

            After this two-year-old child tested positive for methamphetamine, the child-in-need-of-assistance (CINA) dispositional order was modified to remove the child from the father’s custody.   The father appeals the modification order.  He argues there is not clear and convincing evidence that removal was necessary to protect the child from some harm that would justify adjudication of the child as a child in need of assistance and there was no showing K.P. was in any danger.  OPINION HOLDS: Based on our de novo review, we agree with the juvenile court decision to modify the CINA dispositional order to remove the child from the custody of the father as well as the mother and to place the custody of the child with the Iowa Department of Human Services.  We affirm.

Case No. 20-0542:  In the Interest of A.M., K.M., B.M., L.M., J.M., G.M., J.M., L.M., and A.M., Minor Children

Filed Jul 01, 2020

View Opinion No. 20-0542

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Kimberly Ayotte, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Mullins and Ahlers, JJ.  Opinion by Mullins, J.  (6 pages)

            A father appeals the adjudication of his children as children in need of assistance (CINA).  The father argues insufficient evidence was presented to support the CINA adjudication.  OPINION HOLDS: On our de novo review of the record, we find clear and convincing evidence was presented to support the adjudication of the children.

Case No. 20-0727:  In the Interest of R.H., Minor Child

Filed Jul 01, 2020

View Opinion No. 20-0727

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Woodbury County, Mark C. Cord III, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and May and Greer, JJ.  Opinion by May, J.  (3 pages)

            A father appeals the termination of his parental rights.  OPINION HOLDS: We conclude termination of the father’s rights is appropriate under Iowa law and consistent with the child’s best interest.

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