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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. 20-0773:  Jesus Angel Ramirez v. State of Iowa

Filed Sep 21, 2022

View Opinion No. 20-0773

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, David F. Staudt, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Heard by Ahlers, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Badding, J. (7 pages)

            Jesus Ramirez appeals the denial of his application for postconviction relief, which alleged ineffective assistance of counsel on direct appeal following his criminal convictions.  OPINION HOLDS: We agree with the district court that Ramirez did not meet his burden to show prejudice, and we accordingly affirm the denial of his application for postconviction relief. 

Case No. 20-1257:  Keith Walker v. State of Iowa

Filed Sep 21, 2022

View Opinion No. 20-1257

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, George L. Stigler, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Greer and Schumacher, JJ.  Opinion by Schumacher, J.  (4 pages)

            Keith Walker appeals the denial of his application for post-conviction relief.  He alleges newly discovered evidence provides an exception to the Iowa Code section 822.3 (2019) bar on his claims.  He also asks us to apply State v. Plain, 898 N.W.2d 801, 826 (Iowa 2017), retroactively.  OPINION HOLDS: Walker failed to present newly discovered evidence.  Accordingly, his claims are barred by section 822.3.  Further, we cannot apply Plain retroactively.  We affirm. 

Case No. 21-0434:  State of Iowa v. Jason Robert Sassman

Filed Sep 21, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-0434

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Scott J. Beattie, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., Tabor, J., and Potterfield, S.J.  Opinion by Tabor, J.  (12 pages)

            Jason Sassman appeals his conviction for second-degree murder contending the verdicts on his first-degree murder and animal abuse charges were inconsistent.  He also challenges admission of autopsy photographs and the State’s proof of malice aforethought.  OPINION HOLDS: We find no inconsistency in the verdicts, no abuse of discretion in the evidentiary ruling, and ample evidence of malice.  So we affirm. 

Case No. 21-0492:  Christopher Ryan Allen v. State of Iowa

Filed Sep 21, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-0492

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Linda M. Fangman, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., Badding, J., and Potterfield, S.J.  Opinion by Potterfield, S.J.  Partial Dissent by Tabor, P.J.  (22 pages)

            Christopher Allen appeals from the denial of his application for postconviction relief (PCR) following his 2015 convictions for two counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver (cocaine base), ongoing criminal conduct, and a drug tax stamp violation.  Allen argues for the first time that the disparity between sentences for crack and powder cocaine violate the Equal Protection Clauses of both the Federal and Iowa Constitutions.  Allen also argues the district court wrongly denied his application for PCR, claiming he received ineffective assistance from trial counsel when counsel failed to research and present the police video of the vehicle stop at the suppression hearing and trial and object to the district court’s failure to read the verdicts in open court.  He argues appellate counsel provided ineffective assistance by failing to file a timely application for further review of this court’s ruling on his direct appeal.  OPINION HOLDS: Because there is a rational basis for the disparity in sentences between crack and powder cocaine dealers, Allen has not shown that Iowa Code section 124.401 (2015) violates equal protection.  And Allen did not prove he received ineffective assistance from either trial or appellate counsel.  We affirm.  PARTIAL DISSENT ASSERTS: I respectfully dissent.  I would find Iowa Code section 124.401 (2015) violates our equal protection clause as there is no rational relationship between the old ten-to-one sentencing disparity between crack-cocaine and powder-cocaine offenses and a legitimate government interest.  I would reverse and remand for resentencing.

Case No. 21-0709:  State of Iowa v. Adam Jay Driesen

Filed Sep 21, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-0709

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for O’Brien County, Ann M. Gales, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., Tabor, J., and Blane, S.J.  Opinion by Vaitheswaran, P.J.  Special concurrence by Blane, S.J.  (7 pages)

            Adam Driesen appeals the denial of his motion to suppress, arguing the evidence was collected as a result of an illegal search and seizure in violation of the United States Constitution and Iowa Constitution.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm the suppression ruling and Driesen’s conviction, judgment, and sentence for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, second offense.  SPECIAL CONCURRENCE ASSERTS:  Driesen’s argument is lacking in logic and legal authority, and I would affirm without opinion.

Case No. 21-0759:  State of Iowa v. Revette Ann Sauser

Filed Sep 21, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-0759

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Delaware County, Joel A. Dalrymple, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Tabor and Badding, JJ.  Opinion by Badding, J.  Special Concurrence by Tabor, J. (10 pages)

            Revette Sauser appeals her conviction for murder in the first degree, claiming the district court erred in refusing to instruct the jury on voluntary manslaughter.  OPINION HOLDS: Because none of Sauser’s stories about the events leading up to the shooting support a finding that she acted solely out of the required level of provocation, the district court did not err in refusing to instruct the jury on voluntary manslaughter. SPECIAL CONCURRENCE ASSERTS: Like the majority, I would affirm Sauser’s conviction.  But I would find the court erred in not instructing the jury on voluntary manslaughter.  Still, this instructional error is not cause for reversal.  Because they returned a guilty verdict on a higher charge, there is no prejudice for the failure to instruct on manslaughter. 

Case No. 21-0791:  Gary Charles Wood, Jr. v. State of Iowa

Filed Sep 21, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-0791

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Sarah Crane, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., Ahlers, J., and Vogel, S.J.  Opinion by Vogel, S.J.  (5 pages)

            Gary Wood appeals from the denial of his application for postconviction relief (PCR).  He seeks relief from his guilty plea to domestic abuse assault, second offense.  In this PCR appeal, he argues he is actually innocent of the charge.  OPINION HOLDS: Given the issues with the victim’s recantations, Wood has not provided clear and convincing evidence no reasonable factfinder would convict him of domestic abuse assault considering all of the evidence.  We affirm the denial of his PCR application.

Case No. 21-0889:  Murl Edward McMullin v. State of Iowa

Filed Sep 21, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-0889

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Mitchell E. Turner, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Greer and Schumacher, JJ.  Opinion by Schumacher, J.  (4 pages)

            Murl McMullin appeals the denial of his postconviction-relief application.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the application is untimely, we affirm.    

Case No. 21-1176:  Swanson v. Oldenburger

Filed Sep 21, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-1176

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Des Moines County, John G. Linn, Judge.  AFFIRMED IN PART, REVERSED IN PART, AND REMANDED.  Heard by Tabor, P.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J. Special concurrence by Greer, J.  (14 pages)

            Stephen Swanson appeals the grant of summary judgment for the defendants on claims related to disclosing information in his personnel record.  OPINION HOLDS: I. Because nothing in the record supports a finding that Swanson exhausted all contractual, legal, and statutory remedies after a final disciplinary action, the disclosure of his personnel record was not permitted under the open records statute.  II. Swanson’s blacklisting claim fails as a matter of law because he only presents speculation and conjecture to show the defendants intended to injure him by preventing future employment.  III. Swanson failed to show a factual dispute on whether the statements Oldenburger made in disclosing the termination notice were false or made with actual malice, so his defamation claim fails as a matter of law.  SPECIAL CONCURRENCE ASSERTS: I concur in the majority opinion but write separately to offer additional support for the analysis of the open records violation.

Case No. 21-1239:  In re the Marriage of Alvord

Filed Sep 21, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-1239

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Johnson County, Paul D. Miller, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Tabor and Badding, JJ.  Opinion by Vaitheswaran, P.J.  (8 pages)

            Devon Wendler Alvord appeals the district court’s denial of her petition to modify the parties’ agreement to share joint physical care.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm the denial of Devon’s petition to modify the dissolution decree.

Case No. 21-1271:  State of Iowa v. Nicholas Walter Janvrin

Filed Sep 21, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-1271

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Hamilton County, Derek Johnson, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Greer and Schumacher, JJ.  Opinion by Vaitheswaran, P.J.  (6 pages)

            Nicholas Janvrin appeals the district court’s order denying his motion in arrest of judgment, requesting his guilty plea be set aside.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm Janvrin’s plea, conviction, and sentence for third-degree burglary.

Case No. 21-1424:  Dustin Vivone v. Katie Morrell

Filed Sep 21, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-1424

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Dallas County, Thomas P. Murphy, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Tabor and Badding, JJ.  Opinion by Vaitheswaran, P.J.  (8 pages)

            A mother appeals the district court’s decree of paternity establishing custody, physical care, visitation, and support.  OPINION HOLDS: We conclude the court’s decision to grant the father physical care of the child was in the child’s best interests.

Case No. 21-1531:  Mt. Sinai Christian Fellowship Church of God in Christ, Inc. v. Scott County Board of Supervisors

Filed Sep 21, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-1531

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Joel W. Barrows, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., Chicchelly, J., and Scott, S.J.  Opinion by Scott, S.J.  (13 pages)

            Mt. Sinai Christian Fellowship Church of God in Christ, Inc. (Mt. Sinai) appeals from the district court’s denial of its petitions for writ of mandamus against the Scott County Board of Supervisors and the Scott County Treasurer (collectively, the County) regarding the County’s failure to abate property taxes or refund previously paid property taxes.  OPINION HOLDS: Because we concur with the district court’s statutory interpretation and conclusions, we affirm the dismissal of Mt. Sinai’s mandamus actions.

Case No. 21-1613:  State of Iowa v. Dennis Lee Lawson

Filed Sep 21, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-1613

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Monona County, Patrick H. Tott, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., Greer, J., and Doyle, S.J.  Opinion by Greer, J.  (3 pages)

Dennis Lawson appeals the denial of his motions for mistrial and a new trial.  OPINION HOLDS: As Lawson did not move for a mistrial for prosecutorial misconduct before the case was submitted to the jury, any objection to misconduct was waived. 

Case No. 21-1748:  State of Iowa v. Emmanuel Terrill Pledge

Filed Sep 21, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-1748

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Nicholas L. Scott, District Associate Judge.  CONVICTIONS AFFIRMED, SENTENCES VACATED, AND REMANDED FOR RESENTENCING.  Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Greer and Schumacher, JJ.  Opinion by Vaitheswaran, P.J.  (7 pages)

            Emmanuel Pledge appeals his sentence in a criminal conviction that was to run consecutively to the not-yet-imposed sentence of a different conviction.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm Pledge’s convictions but vacate his sentences and remand for the district court to determine whether the sentence in FECR140949 should run consecutively to the sentence in AGCR141183.

Case No. 21-1851:  Brian Denemark v. Archer Daniels Midland Company

Filed Sep 21, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-1851

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Scott D. Rosenberg, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Heard by Ahlers, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J.  (12 pages)

            Brian Denemark appeals the district court’s ruling on judicial review, which affirmed the workers’ compensation commissioner’s denial of two applications for alternate medical care.  OPINION HOLDS: In conducting judicial review, the district court properly applied the law on the agency’s discretion.  The district court did not make its own legal findings or require proof of his employer’s ulterior motive in denying medical care.  Finally, Denemark failed to show the agency’s decision conflicts with prior precedent.  We therefore affirm. 

Case No. 21-1887:  DSM Investment Group, LLC v. City of Des Moines, Iowa

Filed Sep 21, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-1887

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Michael Jacobsen, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Heard by Ahlers, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Ahlers, P.J.  (12 pages)

            DSM Investment Group, LLC (DSM) appeals from a district court ruling in favor of the City of Des Moines.  DSM claims the district court erred in failing to rule on its motion in limine, not awarding damages, classifying certain requested damages as attorney fees, and failing to rule on its due process claim.  OPINION HOLDS: The district court was not required to rule on the motion in limine in this bench trial.  Because DSM failed to object to evidence as it was presented, its evidentiary claims on appeal are not preserved.  DSM failed to present evidence of damages.  The attorney fees were correctly classified as such.  DSM did not preserve its due process claim because it did not file a timely Iowa Rule of Civil Procedure 1.904(2) motion alerting the court of its failure to address the due process claim.

Case No. 21-1904:  Muff Corp. v. Paige

Filed Sep 21, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-1904

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Crawford County, Tod Deck, Judge.  REVERSED AND REMANDED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Vaitheswaran and Tabor, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, J.  (12 pages)

            Muff Corporation and Thomas and Lawrence Muff, as conservators for the Joseph Muff Conservatorship, appeal a district court decision holding Tadd Paige’s inherited individual retirement accounts (IRAs) are exempt from collection of a money judgment.  OPINION HOLDS: Because inherited IRAs are not “retirement investments” under the exemption statute, we reverse and remand for further proceedings.  

Case No. 21-1949:  State of Iowa v. Jacob Eugene Hansel

Filed Sep 21, 2022

View Opinion No. 21-1949

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Washington County, Lucy J. Gamon, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., Tabor, J., and Scott, S.J.  Opinion by Scott, S.J.  (3 pages)

            Jacob Eugene Hansel appeals his convictions for possession with intent to deliver and failure to affix a drug tax stamp, claiming improperly admitted prior “bad acts” testimony.  OPINION HOLDS: Trial counsel made no objection, made no further record, and did not ask to strike testimony.  The trial court made no ruling.  We have nothing to review; thus, we affirm.

Case No. 22-0062:  In re Marriage of Anderson

Filed Sep 21, 2022

View Opinion No. 22-0062

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Samantha Gronewald, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Ahlers, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Badding, J.  (10 pages)

            Elizabeth Sheckells appeals the denial of her petition to modify the physical-care provisions of a dissolution decree.  Her former husband, Darrick Anderson, requests an award of appellate attorney fees.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm, concluding Elizabeth did not show a substantial change in circumstances warranting modification and the result of modification would be contrary to the child’s best interests.  Darrick’s request for an award of appellate attorney fees is denied.

Case No. 22-0173:  Janelle Marie Aron v. Clark Jon Robken

Filed Sep 21, 2022

View Opinion No. 22-0173

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Johnson County, Kevin McKeever, Judge.  REVERSED AND REMANDED.  Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Greer and Schumacher, JJ.  Opinion by Vaitheswaran, P.J.  (5 pages)

            A man appeals a protective order, arguing the assault underlying a 2018 protective order could not serve as the predicate for the later, current protective order.  OPINION HOLDS: We reverse and remand for dismissal of the protective order. 

Case No. 22-0180:  Benjamin Moody v. Brooke Trimble

Filed Sep 21, 2022

View Opinion No. 22-0180

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Butler County, Christopher C. Foy, Judge.  AFFIRMED AS MODIFIED AND REMANDED ON APPEAL; AFFIRMED ON CROSS-APPEAL.  Considered by Ahlers, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Ahlers, P.J.  (8 pages)

            A father appeals the district court’s child-support calculations.  The mother cross-appeals the district court’s denial of her request to modify visitation.  OPINION HOLDS: The mother is underemployed, so we conclude additional income should be imputed to her for the purposes of calculating child support.  The mother has failed to show a change in circumstances warranting modification of her visitation with the parents’ child.

Case No. 22-0193:  Kevin James Noel v. Jessica Ann Dorsey

Filed Sep 21, 2022

View Opinion No. 22-0193

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Jeffrey D. Bert, Judge.  AFFIRMED IN PART AS MODIFIED AND REMANDED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Schumacher and Ahlers, JJ.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  (5 pages)

            Kevin Noel appeals the court’s custody modification order to the extent it allows for joint physical care with Jessica Dorsey.  OPINION HOLDS: Because neither Jessica nor Kevin requested joint physical care, the issue was not properly before the district court and should not have been ordered.  Physical care is placed with Kevin.  The visitation schedule must be modified and we remand for the district court to set forth an appropriate visitation schedule. 

Case No. 22-0196:  In the Interest of R.S., Minor Child

Filed Sep 21, 2022

View Opinion No. 22-0196

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Rachel E. Seymour, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Ahlers, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Ahlers, P.J.  (3 pages)

            A father appeals a statutory ground authorizing termination of his parental rights.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the father only challenges one of the two statutory grounds authorizing termination, we affirm on the unchallenged ground.

Case No. 22-0217:  Alexis Ficek v. Ronald Morgan, III

Filed Sep 21, 2022

View Opinion No. 22-0217

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Celene Gogerty, Judge.  AFFIRMED IN PART, REVERSED IN PART, AND REMANDED WITH INSTRUCTIONS.  Considered by Ahlers, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J.  (8 pages)

            Ronald (Ronnie) Morgan appeals the district court’s disposition of his petition to modify visitation, custody, and child support for two minor children.  OPINION HOLDS: We find the district court acted equitably and consistently with the children’s best interests by refusing to confer legal custody or decrease child support for Ronnie.  On those issues we affirm.  However, we remand to the district court to set a visitation schedule consistent with this opinion.

Case No. 22-0298:  State of Iowa v. Kevin William Maas

Filed Sep 21, 2022

View Opinion No. 22-0298

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Woodbury County, Roger L. Sailer, Judge.  APPEAL DISMISSED.  Considered by Ahlers, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J.  (3 pages)

            Kevin Maas appeals his conviction based on an alleged defect in his plea proceedings.  He contends the record shows no evidence that he was advised of his constitutional rights before entering a guilty plea.  OPINION HOLDS: As Maas has not demonstrated a potential ground for relief to support an appeal from a guilty plea, we are without jurisdiction to hear the appeal, and it must be dismissed.

Case No. 22-0404:  In the Interest of S.G., Minor Child

Filed Sep 21, 2022

View Opinion No. 22-0404

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Monona County, Mark Cord III, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Tabor and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J.  (7 pages)

            A father appeals the termination of his parental rights to his six-year-old child under Iowa Code section 600A.8 (2021).  OPINION HOLDS: Because clear and convincing evidence shows the father abandoned the child under section 600A.8(3)(b) and termination is in the child’s best interests, we affirm.

Case No. 22-0464:  Jeremy J. Bowman v. Denyel L. Doughman, a/k/a Denyel L. Jones

Filed Sep 21, 2022

View Opinion No. 22-0464

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Pottawattamie County, James S. Heckerman, Judge.  AFFIRMED AS MODIFIED AND REMANDED FOR FURTHER PROCEEDINGS.  Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Greer and Schumacher, JJ.  Opinion by Greer, J.  (11 pages)

            Denyel Jones and Jeremy Bowman are the never-married parents of one child.  After Denyel moved with the child to Arizona, Jeremy asked the court to award the parents joint legal custody and to give him physical care of the child.  The district court gave Denyel physical care, which Jeremy appeals.  Each parent asks for appellate attorney fees.  OPINION HOLDS: We give Jeremy physical care of the child; we decline to award either parent appellate attorney fees.  We remand to the district court to determine Denyel’s child-support obligation consistent with the change in physical care. 

Case No. 22-0515:  In the Interest of J.M. and C.S., Minor Children

Filed Sep 21, 2022

View Opinion No. 22-0515

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Floyd County, Karen Kaufman Salic, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Ahlers, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Badding, J.  (9 pages)

            A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights, challenging the statutory grounds for termination, the efforts made to reunify her with the children, and the denial of her request for more time.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm the juvenile court’s order terminating the mother’s parental rights.

Case No. 22-0543:  In the Interest of T.P. and H.P., Minor Children

Filed Sep 21, 2022

View Opinion No. 22-0543

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Lynn Poschner, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED ON BOTH APPEALS.  Considered by Ahlers, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J.  (7 pages)

            A mother and father separately appeal the termination of their parental rights to two children, T.P. and H.P.  The mother argues she should have been granted a continuance of the termination hearing, while the father contends, he should have received an exception because he is incarcerated.  Both maintain termination is not in the best interests of the children.  OPINION HOLDS: Finding no merit to the arguments tenuously outlined by either parent, we affirm termination of their parental rights to both children.

Case No. 22-0598:  State of Iowa v. Benjaman Lee Hunsucker

Filed Sep 21, 2022

View Opinion No. 22-0598

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Union County, Dustria A. Relph, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Ahlers, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Badding, J.  (6 pages)

            Benjamin Hunsucker appeals the suspended sentences imposed following his written guilty pleas to first-degree harassment and stalking, claiming “he misunderstood the plea agreement”; he was not provided with evidence “that would have been favorable to the defense”; and a deferred judgment should have been granted.  OPINION HOLDS: Good cause does not exist to bring the non-sentencing challenges, and the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying deferred judgment.

Case No. 22-0723:  In the Interest of S.P. and T.P., Minor Children

Filed Sep 21, 2022

View Opinion No. 22-0723

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Dickinson County, Shawna L. Ditsworth, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Ahlers, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J.  (11 pages)

            M.K. appeals the termination of her parental rights to two children.  OPINION HOLDS: We find reasonable effort services were provided, the statutory ground for termination is satisfied, an extension is not warranted, and termination is in the children’s best interests.  Therefore, we affirm termination of the mother’s parental rights to S.P. and T.P.

Case No. 22-0803:  In the Interest of L.R., Minor Child

Filed Sep 21, 2022

View Opinion No. 22-0803

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Dickinson County, Shawna L. Ditsworth, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED ON BOTH APPEALS.  Considered by Ahlers, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Ahlers, P.J.  (9 pages)

            A mother and father separately appeal the termination of their respective parental rights.  They both argue (1) the statutory grounds relied upon for termination were not satisfied, in part because the State failed to make reasonable efforts towards reunification; (2) termination is not in the child’s best interests; (3) their respective bonds with the child should preclude termination, and (4) they should be given additional time to work toward reunification.  OPINION HOLDS: Statutory grounds authorizing termination were satisfied, and the parents’ reasonable-efforts challenges were not preserved.  Termination is in the child’s best interests.  The parent-child bonds are not so strong to preclude termination.  And we decline to award either parent additional time to work toward reunification.

Case No. 22-0846:  In the Interest of M.B.-S. and K.S., Minor Children

Filed Sep 21, 2022

View Opinion No. 22-0846

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Rachael E. Seymour, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Vaitheswaran and Tabor, JJ.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  (9 pages)

            A father appeals the termination of his parental rights.  OPINION HOLDS: We find the grounds for termination have been established, termination is in the children’s best interests, and no permissive exception applies.  We affirm.

Case No. 22-0852:  In the Interest of G.T., Minor Child

Filed Sep 21, 2022

View Opinion No. 22-0852

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Ida County, Mark C. Cord III, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Ahlers, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Badding, J.  (5 pages)

            A father appeals the termination of his parental rights, challenging the statutory grounds for termination, the efforts made to reunify him with his child, the denial of his request for more time, and the effectiveness of his attorneys.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm the juvenile court’s order terminating the father’s parental rights.

Case No. 22-0900:  In the Interest of J.M., Minor Child

Filed Sep 21, 2022

View Opinion No. 22-0900

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Page County, Jennifer A. Benson Bahr, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Greer and Schumacher, JJ.  Opinion by Vaitheswaran, P.J.  (5 pages)

            A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to a child born in 2013.  She contends: (I) the State failed to prove the grounds for termination cited by the district court; (II) termination was not in the child’s best interests; (III) the district court should have declined to terminate her parental rights based on her bond with the child; and (IV) she should have been afforded additional time to reunify with the child.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm termination of the mother’s parental rights to the child.

Case No. 22-0963:  In the Interest of M.W., Minor Child

Filed Sep 21, 2022

View Opinion No. 22-0963

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Kimberly Ayotte, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED ON BOTH APPEALS.  Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Greer and Schumacher, JJ.  Opinion by Schumacher, J.  (10 pages)

            A mother and father separately appeal the termination of their parental rights.  OPINION HOLDS: We conclude termination of the father’s parental rights is in the child’s best interests.  We determine there is clear and convincing evidence in the record to support termination of the mother’s parental rights, the mother waived her claim concerning reasonable efforts, and she did not preserve error on her request for an extension of time.  We affirm on both appeals.

Case No. 22-0998:  In the Interest of Y.C., B.C., and Y.C., Minor Children

Filed Sep 21, 2022

View Opinion No. 22-0998

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Wright County, Joseph L. Tofilon, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Greer and Schumacher, JJ.  Opinion by Vaitheswaran, P.J.  (4 pages)

            A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to three children, contending the district court should have afforded her “another six months for reunification” and termination was not in the children’s best interests.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm the termination of the mother’s parental rights.

Case No. 22-1015:  In the Interest of D.R., Minor Child

Filed Sep 21, 2022

View Opinion No. 22-1015

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Wapello County, William Owens, Associate Juvenile Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Greer and Schumacher, JJ.  Opinion by Schumacher, J.  (7 pages)

            A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights, claiming the State did not provide reasonable efforts to reunite the family.  She also argues termination was not in the best interest of the child.  OPINION HOLDS:  We find the mother’s reasonable efforts argument to be unpreserved and determine that termination is in the child’s best interest.  We affirm.

Case No. 22-1034:  In the Interest of A.C., Minor Child

Filed Sep 21, 2022

View Opinion No. 22-1034

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Brent Pattison, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Tabor and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, J.  (11 pages)

            A father appeals the termination of his parental rights.  He contends the State failed to present clear and convincing evidence of the statutory grounds for termination, it is not in A.C.’s best interests to terminate his rights, and the juvenile court should have determined the statutory permissive factors precluded termination.  OPINION HOLDS: We agree with the findings of the juvenile court.  Because A.C.’s therapist discourages any contact with her father until he acknowledges he sexually abused her, we find the statutory grounds were satisfied.  It is in A.C.’s best interests to terminate her parental relationship with Joshua.  And no permissive factor prevents termination.  So we affirm.

Case No. 22-1138:  In the Interest of L.L.-F. and L.L.-F., Minor Children

Filed Sep 21, 2022

View Opinion No. 22-1138

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Carrie K. Bryner, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Tabor and Badding, JJ.  Opinion by Bower, C.J.  (6 pages)

            A father appeals the termination of his parental rights.  OPINION HOLDS: On our de novo review, we affirm.

Case No. 22-1140:  In the Interest of S.G. and R.W., Minor Children

Filed Sep 21, 2022

View Opinion No. 22-1140

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Jasper County, Steven J. Holwerda, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Ahlers, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J.  (6 pages)

            C.W. appeals the termination of her parental rights to two children.  OPINION HOLDS: The mother does not contest the elements to at least one statutory ground for termination for each child.  Because we find termination in the children’s best interests and no exception should be applied, we affirm termination of the mother’s parental rights to these children.

Case No. 22-1173:  In the Interest of L.F., Minor Child

Filed Sep 21, 2022

View Opinion No. 22-1173

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Hancock County, Karen Kaufman Salic, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED ON MOTHER’S APPEAL; REVERSED AND REMANDED ON POTENTIAL FATHER’S APPEAL.  Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Greer and Schumacher, JJ.  Opinion by Greer, J.  (9 pages)

            The mother and the potential biological father, K.A., appeal the termination of their parental rights to L.F., who was born in late 2021.  OPINION HOLDS: Because we cannot say the mother will be able to parent L.F. if given an additional six months and termination of her rights is in the child’s best interests, we affirm the termination of the mother’s parental rights.  However, the failure of the Iowa Department of Human Services to comply with a court order to paternity test K.A., combined with the department’s failure to provide him any other family centered services (except the offer of visits) constitutes a failure to make reasonable efforts.  We reverse the termination of K.A.’s possible parental rights and remand for paternity testing and, if he is confirmed as L.F.’s biological father, additional services.

Case No. 22-1179:  In the Interest of C.E. and S.E., Minor Children

Filed Sep 21, 2022

View Opinion No. 22-1179

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Poweshiek County, Rose Anne Mefford, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Ahlers, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Ahlers, P.J.  (6 pages)

            A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her two children.  OPINION HOLDS: The record established that the children could not be safely returned to the mother’s care, so the statutory ground authorizing termination is satisfied.  The parent-child bonds are not strong enough to preclude termination, which is in the children’s best interests.

Case No. 22-1180:  In the Interest of J.T., Minor Child

Filed Sep 21, 2022

View Opinion No. 22-1180

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Benton County, Cynthia S. Finley, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Greer and Schumacher, JJ.  Opinion by Greer, J.  (7 pages)

            A father appeals the termination of his parental rights, arguing the State failed to prove the grounds for termination and that the strength of the bond between him and the child outweighs the need for termination.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the State established the grounds for termination and the strength of the bond between the father and the child does not outweigh the need for termination, we affirm the juvenile court’s termination of the father’s parental rights. 

Case No. 22-1193:  In the Interest of E.O. and O.O., Minor Children

Filed Sep 21, 2022

View Opinion No. 22-1193

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for O'Brien County, Shawna L. Ditsworth, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Tabor and Ahlers, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, J.  (6 pages)

            A mother appeals the review order in a child-in-need-of-assistance proceeding and the ruling on her motion for reasonable efforts.  She requests more frequent and longer visits.  OPINION HOLDS: Following the review hearing, the juvenile court rejected the mother’s reasonable efforts challenge and left the details of visitation, including frequency, length, and supervision, to the Department of Health and Human Services.  On our de novo review, we agree that despite recent progress, the mother’s lack of accountability for her physical and emotional abuse of the children means her interactions should remain at the discretion of the department.  We affirm. 

Case No. 22-1255:  In the Interest of A.G., Minor Child

Filed Sep 21, 2022

View Opinion No. 22-1255

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Kimberly Ayotte, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Ahlers, P.J., and Badding and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J.  (5 pages)

            A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her child.  OPINION HOLDS: The State proved the grounds for termination under Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(f) (2022), and termination is in the child’s best interests.  Because delaying permanency would not eliminate the need for the child’s removal, we decline to grant the mother additional time for reunification under section 232.104(2)(b).

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